A rising starMature


Emilie was trying one of her best secret thrusts and it had failed. Her opponent, the musketeer d'Artagnan, had dodged the deadly blade. In his white shirt and black leather pants, the arrogant swordsman was smiling at his opponent, looking her with his grey eyes. The swordswoman was in her uniform, the black latex catsuit of the Cardinal's guards, and she was trying to kill one of the most skilled opponents she could meet. The tall man tried a feint, but Emilie didn't fall for it and tried to strike back. If d'Artagnan's attacks were tricky, Emilie succeeded each time to parry them. But her own thrusts were deflected too. And the more the duel lasted, the more secret thrusts she must use. Soon, she'll have to try everything she knew and then things will be more dangerous for her.

The female guard decided to try one of her best move, a very deadly one. She did some feint before lunging and the musketeer dodged her blade only by jumping on a table. Then Emilie slashed at his leg to cut him. But d'Artagnan caught her blade with his own and deflect it on the table, before putting his left foot on the blade, sticking it. Then, with his right foot, he smashed strongly on the blade of Emilie's rapier, breaking it. The guard knew she was doomed. She still had about one third of her blade, and that could be enough to parry some thrust, but it wouldn't be enough to do good thrusts and against an opponent as skilled as that arrogant musketeer, it was as good as being disarmed. Nonetheless, she tried to dodge or parry his next attacks, each time moving slightly backwards. Until she felt her back touching the wall. At the same moment, d'Artagnan lunged forward. Emilie tried to deflect his blade, but the movement was really fast and what remained of her blade too short to be really effective. She felt the tip of the blade piercing the latex of her catsuit then entering her left breast. The arrogant musketeer was smiling as he was running her through chest, his rapier pinning the guard on the wall. Emilie knew she was dying, and it felt good. Then she woke up.


The next morning, Emilie gave a few thinking about that dream. Since a week she was in duty at Château de Beaujean, and since a week it was the third time she made the same dream, ending the exact same way.

Her first mission as a Cardinal's guard had been that ambush about musketeers that didn't end well. To be honest it had been a total waste, as she was the sole survivor of the twenty guards involved in it, and when she came back, she knew she was in some trouble. She did an honest report about it, claiming her seven kills and with no big surprise she wasn't believed, even considered a coward. She had to wait a few days without duty before some report cleared her. She supposed the Cardinal had some spies amongst the musketeers and that they gave an account of the musketeers' view of the whole affaire. She was cleared just in time to see the capture of d'Artagnan.

The man was meeting the Cardinal about a problem between the musketeers and the guards, something concerning the queen. From what Emilie heard after the Cardinal asked him to leave the musketeers and engage amongst the guards and if he were to decline, the guards would have to arrest him. They were ready to catch him when he left, and the capitaines has seen so there wouldn't be any failure, around thirty guards were mobilized for the operation. Instructions were simple but strict : arrest d'Artagnan but on no condition kill him. If it were to happen, punishment would be severe.

As one of the last recruits, Emilie was assign in the last group that could fight the musketeer if things didn't go right. The first group to fight d'Artagnan was lead by a named Christian. Emilie had just seen him practice but he looked the kind who considered himself a better fencer than he really was. And it proved right. Christian defied the musketeer on a one to one fight... and didn't last more than ten seconds before being run through heart. The guy didn't stand a chance. Then it was all hell break loose. Eventually, the guards pointed enough blades at d'Artagnan's throat to force him to surrender but not before he killed six of them and wounded four more. A couple more guards dead and Emilie would have had a chance to cross blade with the musketeer. She just had to watch the way he fought, and she especially liked the way he smiles each time his blade pierced the latex catsuit of one of his opponents. That guy really liked to fight and kill. A man the way Emilie liked them.

And now, since a week, d'Artagnan was a prisoner at Château de Beaujean. The official name for this was "guest", but prisoner with benefit would be a better description of it, as the musketeer was in the custody of Milady de Winter. The lady was supposed to "convert" the man to the Cardinal's side, and that seemed to involved a lot of noisy activity in Milady's room. Emilie wasn't sure that it was the best way to change side, but given than most of the male guards, and a good part of the female ones, would be ready to sell their souls to have a chance to be in that room in d'Artagnan's place, perhaps it wasn't such a bad way.

And so they were here to prevent the musketeer to escape. Given there was not much exit in that old castle, just the main gate and a half forgotten postern, it was rather easy. Especially as d'Artagnan wasn't doing much when he wasn't with Milady, except teasing the maids. But Emilie was sure that someone like him wouldn't wait here until the end of time. His friends wouldn't probably try to attack the castle and he was pretty alone to try to escape. But a good escape attempt would need a horse, as the castle wasn't too close of any town, just a small village. And as the horses, and the main gate, were too well guarded, the only way outside was the postern, and for the horse some help from outside would be needed.

It was probably the reason why Emilie was having that dream, about fighting against d'Artagnan just near the postern. Because she knew that the man will try that way to escape. And because she'd like to be the one stopping. Their orders were clear on that part : if he tries to escape, stop him, if he can't be stopped, kill him, on no account he must escape. Except that in her dream she always losed and die, like so many opponents of the musketeers. Was it a sign that she can't beat the man ? She didn't believe so. She had seen him fight briefly during his capture, and if the man was one of the best fencer she'd ever seen, she hasn't yet met one that she knew with certainty that she couldn't win against. She wasn't fool enough to imagine herself the best fencer ever, but she sees selfunderesteem as dangerous as selfoveresteem.

If the thing about her dream was just some fantasy about losing duel and dying, there would have been some differences between the three times she had it. But it was the exact same duel, with the exact same movement, thrusts and lunges, and the same ending. So her mind was perhaps telling her something about the way she would fight and what she must avoid if she wanted to win that duel. Dying against d'Artagnan wouldn't be shameful, and Emilie knew that one day she would probably end run through by some opponents, but she'd like it to be later rather than sooner.

Anyway, since two days the red-haired swordswoman was trying to take her duty time the closest possible to the postern, to be ready to meet the musketeer when (and not if) he tries to escape. She knew that the swordsman could be killed before meeting her, as he would probably need to find some other guards before getting there, but she was rather confident in his ability to survive at this point, given that she practised with the other guards stationed at the castle and none really impressed her with his skills.

She was still pacing near the court of the castle, thinking about that duel, when she heard some noise from inside. Like some shouts and clashes of swords. It seemed monsieur d'Artagnan has decided to leave today. With a smile, the guard moved in her black latex catsuit towards the room besides the postern. She'd studied it earlier, the postern had a lock from inside, and the room had only another issue, from which the musketeer should come, that could be locked too with a key. So Emilie would wait inside, behind the door, and as soon as her target would enter the room she would close and lock the door, that way he wouldn't leave and she would be alone to fight him.

She didn't mind about two or three against one fighting, nor about killing from behind, she did it herself in her first mission as a guard, but against such an opponent as d'Artagnan it would be quite honourless to do so. And dangerous, as fighting besides someone less skilled than you can be more a problem than anything else against an opponent as gifted as d'Artagnan. And killing him alone would give her all the honour, no share of glory with anybody. It was the way she wanted it. And if fighting alone mean to lose and die, then so be it. She would die only once and d'Artagnan wasn't the worst killer she could choose.

Emilie looked at the windows between the room and the inside court of the castle just in time to see d'Artagnan coming out the main building, fighting two guards, a man named Adrien and a woman named Juliette. Adrien just had time to try a thrust before being hit in the throat by the musketeer's rapier. Juliette proved to be a more interesting challenge to the swordsman, as she resisted alone almost a minute before the deadly blade pierced the latex of her catsuit and run her through heart. Emilie could see the smile on the face of the musketeer has he killed the guard, that guy really like to fight and kill.

Eventually, the musketeer ran inside the room, and before he could realise he wasn't alone, Emilie closed the door and turned the key. D'Artagnan turned to face her. On his face, a smile formed as he realized he had one last opponent to fight and defeat before leaving the castle. Facing him, her rapier unsheathed, Emilie was smiling at her opponent.

"En garde, monsieur d'Artagnan."

"Mademoiselle, I don't know your name, but it'll be a pleasure for me to feel my blade piercing that lovely chest."

"Then come and try monsieur, we'll see who's going to have the pleasure of killing, and who's going to have the one of dying."

They both took stance, looking intensely at each other eyes. D'Artagnan was the first to attack. Then the duel proceed as Emilie had dreamed it. Both duellist were trying their best, and d'Artagnan seemed to had as much pleasure as Emilie. The guard was trying to find a way to make things happens differently, but nothing came to her mind and she felt her end closing. Until d'Artagnan jumped on the table and she tried to thrust at him. He parried her blade and blocked it with his left foot. He was about to kick it with his right foot when Emilie finally understood. Quick as a lighting she raised her left foot and kicked hard the left knee of the musketeer, making him fall on the table, and freeing her blade before he could break it. She couldn't take advantage of the fall of her opponent, as he rolled on the other side of the table and used a chair to put himself back on his feet, on the ground, breaking the chair in the process. But at least her blade was free and still in one piece.

The man looked as if he knew that he just missed the very opportunity to finish his opponent. But he didn't wait long before attacking again. A feint then a quick lunge, Emilie parried it, the musketeer's blade missed her by a few inches, both rapier slide against the other until they were blocked, guard against guard, each duellist pressed against the other. D'Artagnan smiled to the guard and she responded by licking her lips slowly, then she broke free.

She was back to square one, with an opponent as skilled as her and still no way to win that duel. But an idea began to take shape in her mind. She did some thrusts and lunges, quickly, to force the man to move back, then she rolled over the table the way he does, and kneed on the other side, were the chair broke earlier, and her left hand took a piece of wood of a couple of inches long. Then she faced again her opponent, ready to parry his next attack.

One of the main focus in fencing was aiming. You need to know where the tip of your blade is going to be when you thrust or lunge, otherwise you can't touch what you want. All fencers do lots of exercises and practice about that, and Emilie did it too. But in her mind it was only half the story about aiming. The other half was to know where your opponent is aiming. That way you could better deflect or parry his blade. And she worked hard on that part too. That's why she knew that each time he lunged, d'Artagnan was aiming exactly for her heart. If she hadn't parry or dodge his attacks, she was sure that each time she would have been hit at almost the exact same point, just under her left breast, right through the centre of her heart.

So she began a combination of feint and thrusts she used a few minutes earlier, and at the end the musketeer dodged her blade the same way and lunged at her. Except this time she didn't try to turn sideways to dodge it. The blade of d'Artagnan hit her exactly under her left breast, pierced the latex of her catsuit and ran her through heart.

Or it would have, if it didn't hit first the piece of wood that Emilie hold just under her breast with her left hand. The tip of the blade pierced through the wood but didn't have much energy left, it still pierced the latex catsuit, but didn't enter Emilie's flesh for more than five millimetres. Emilie could see surprise and her opponent's face as he watched his blade bend instead of running the guard through. Then the swordswoman centred her rapier and lunged forward hardly. The tip of the blade pierced the fabric of the white shirt and ran the musketeer through the heart. Emilie could feel the blade coming off his back. The lunge was so strong that the guard of her rapier almost hit the chest of d'Artagnan.

Pleasure and pain take the place of the surprise on the musketeer's face. Emilie felt glad that he was the kind to enjoy dying as much as killing, it makes her find that duel even more "honourable". She closed to his face, slightly opening her mouth. She saw in his eyes that he would welcome a last kiss from his killer. But just before her lips touched his, she twisted her blade in his chest, and removed it. The man dropped his blade and put both hands to the wound, he gave her a last look, then fell, face to the ground.

Emilie saluted him with her rapier then sheathed it. She was panting, she was half exhausted, but she was also relieved to have solved the mystery of her dreams. Now, she needed to unlock that door and see if anybody witness that duel through the windows.


Emilie was riding towards Paris. She killed d'Artagnan just a couple of hours ago and she was already back on duty. Milady didn't let her much time before sending her to the capital with a letter for the Cardinal, a telling of the end of the musketeer she told her.

The lady had watched the last half of her duel through the windows, as did also some guards. Before Emilie had just a reputation of a suspected coward that was cleared by some report but didn't still looked that good. Now, every guard at the castle of Beaujean, at least those who survived the escape attempt of d'Artagnan, knew how skilled and deadly she could be.

Just after the duel, Milady asked for her to join her in her office after she reported to her superior. Emilie did a quick report to the capitaine Antoine, then she walked to the office, wondering what Milady would tell her. The lady didn't aske many questions, just how she felt about having killed one of the most known and skilled duellist of the kingdom. Emilie answered honestly : proud and excited. The lady makes her rest on her sofa while she wrote a letter for the Cardinal. Then she ordered Emilie to bring the letter immediately back to Paris.

She still feel the tip of the blade piercing her skin, just under her left breast. After d'Artagnan got his blade stuck in the piece of wood, she could have just disarmed him easily by hitting him in the arm or the shoulder. But she aimed for his heart, to kill the man, but also to hit all he symbolized for her. When she arrived in Paris, fleeing her past, she thought that the Compagnie des Mousquetaires could have been a good place for her. She believed that someone with a talent for fencing like her could find a place in that company. But reality was different from tales, and in addition to be turn down by the company, mainly for lack of relation or money, she soon discovered the other face of the musketeers : arrogant, mean, and for some even cruel. And d'Artagnan was seen as some kind of paragon of musketeers. So, she haven't hesitated a second on what to do with him when he was at her mercy. And she didn't felt ashamed for it. Shame is for weak people and I'll never be weak again, it cost too much.

Once the reality about musketeers had been revealed to her, her plan became pretty simple : join the sworn enemies of the Compagnie, the guards of the Cardinal, and try to do her best. Their less good public image wasn't any concern to her. Besides, she found their uniform to be kind of sexy, which was still a good point.

The castle wasn't near Paris, but Emilie thought she could reach the city before the night. She wondered what would happen of her next. Anyway, she though that her career as a guard was on a good path.


Votre Eminence,

I feel ashamed to tell you that I failed in my mission of turning monsieur d'Artagnan to our side. As feared, he planned an escape and that cost you five wounded in addition to the eight ones he killed. Fortunately, he didn't succeed and was killed. For that, and for avoiding me more shame, I’m really grateful to the bearer of that letter, mademoiselle Emilie Siméon, who was the one to put an end to the duelling career of monsieur d'Artagnan. Without her, he would have achieved in his scheme, and the shame would have been on the whole compagnie.

That's why, in addition to the rightful and deserved punishment you will have for me, I offer my highest recommendation about mademoiselle Siméon who single handedly stopped our guest from leaving. I watched the most part of that duel, and it was no luck that guided the steel of mademoiselle Siméon's blade thru the heart of her opponent but only her skill with the rapier.

Sincerely yours,

Milady De Winter

The End

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