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All For One- Chapter Sixteen
16. Eliminating evidence
The fire illuminated Milady’s face as four guards’ uniforms burned. The uniforms belonged to the four men waiting for their pay at the other end of the room. After absconding with Anne of Austria, they loaded her in a small boat moored on the Seine. They rode upstream past the Île de la Cité with their royal prisoner and came ashore to a waiting carriage. The carriage brought them to a small, dilapidated hovel in the Latin Quarter, where Milady was waiting. She turned to Rochefort, leaning against the wall. He nodded. She turned and walked towards the men, her cloak billowing behind her.
“Well that’s the last step,” she said. “We wouldn’t want anyone to find those uniforms, now do we?”
She paused for effect. Gesturing outside, she continued. “I looked out in the carriage, and I must admit, I was quite surprised.”
The men shifted in their place.
“I believe the order was for two young women,” she resumed. “I see one woman in the carriage. What happened?”
The men looked at each other. One of them, clearly the leader of this motley group, stepped forward. “The other woman wasn’t there.”
“Wasn’t there?” she repeated.
“After we captured the Infanta, we went through the passage to the Rohan woman’s room. She was not there.”
Milady was astonished. She had a difficult time comprehending the stupidity of the four men. “So instead of looking for her, you simply left with the Infanta?”
“We felt it was best,” he said. “We thought we should leave with the Infanta before someone else discovered us.”
“‘Someone else’?” Milady repeated, eyebrows raised. “Someone discovered you?”
“Yes,” he said. “A maid.”
She looked back at Rochefort, who, concerned, walked towards them.
“A maid discovered you?” he asked.
“Yes,” the man said. “She came out of the passageway while we were in there. Jacques hit her on the head.” He gestured to another man, Jacques, who nodded.
“Did you kill her?” Rochefort asked.
“No one said anything about killing,” Jacques protested.
Milady and Rochefort exchanged glances.
Controlling her anger, she readdressed the group’s leader. “What did you do with her?” asked Milady.
“We put her in the passage and left,” he said.
“We felt that killing someone would cause suspicion,” Jacques added.
“And leaving her alive in a secret passageway would not raise the alarm?” Rochefort asked.
“A murder in the Louvre?” the lead man said.
“Yes, I suppose you did the right thing,” Milady said. “I suppose you want what’s coming to you?”
The men visibly relaxed. “Yes, milady.”
Quickly, Rochefort drew two small pistols. Simultaneously, Milady pulled two similar pistols from under her cloak. They fired. At such close range, all four projectiles found a warm body in each of the four men. The killers immediately dropped their spent weapons and Rochefort drew his sword. Milady drew a knife. Rochefort’s blade found the throats of both of his men. Milady stepped forward to slit the throats of her opponents, but she found that the knife was unnecessary. Her aim with a pistol at close range was precise, and both bullets found the heart of each victim.
Milady considered the bodies. This was her first murder, and she was surprised at how quickly it happened. She knew that she was going to kill these men to cover their tracks, but was amazed at how easy it came for her. Amazed and a little saddened. “I wonder if they thought they were actually going to get paid,” Milady mused in that way that some do to mask their feelings.
“I am not amused,” Rochefort said. “Now I have two messes to clean up.”
“Be careful,” she said. “Find out who that maid was. Silence her.”
“It may be too late,” he growled. “You need to get her out of Paris immediately.”
“Agreed,” she said. “You’ll take care of these four?”
“The Seine will,” he said.
She nodded and left through a creaky wooden door to where her carriage waited. She crawled inside. Sitting down, she lifted the opposite seat revealing a hidden compartment underneath.
“Comfortable, your grace?” she mocked.
The Infanta Anne growled through her gag. She was bound and blindfolded. She struggled against her bonds to no avail. Milady replaced the seat and sat on the Infanta’s temporary prison. She signaled the driver to begin. The driver spurred the horses, not knowing he was carrying two passengers instead of one.
- All For One- Chapter Fifteen
The Next Chapter in the Three Musketeers prequel
- All For One- Chapter Seventeen
The Next Chapter in the Three Musketeers sequel