All For One- Chapter Twenty
20. The Rescue
Milady sat in the drawing room. She had to work out the second phase of her plan. The Infanta could not remain in Vendôme. She had planned to take the Infanta and Marie de Rohan to the Brittany area and drown them in some river. Months later, after the King was assassinated, they would be found. The men who failed to grab the Rohan girl foiled that plan, but that was only a small setback. They will deal with Marie de Rohan shortly, but she had to figure out what to do next. She thought they would move the Infanta to the château de Condé in Condé-en-Brie near the Aisne River for the time being. Condé would have to agree. There she will stay until after the King was dead. Then only then, would Anne of Austria meet her fate.
Her thoughts were interrupted when servant approached her. “My lady, the Chevalier de Valence is here.”
Milady rose. “Send him in,” she ordered.
The servant nodded and left. She straightened her gown. Soon, André entered the room.
“Sabiné,” he said. “Forgive me for leaving so abruptly.”
“I’m not the sentimental type,” she said. She looked him. “Why are you wearing the same clothes as yesterday?”
“I’m waiting for my servant to arrive from Paris,” André said. He had foreseen this question. “He was supposed to arrive today. Until he does, I don’t have a stitch to wear.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” she said.
“I could use a quick freshening up,” he said. “Do you mind if I use your chamber?”
“Of course,” she said. “You remember where it is?”
He smiled. “How could I forget?” She returned his smile and he bowed as he exited.
As soon as he was out of the room, he bolted up the stairs. Once he was on the second floor, he avoided the hallway with the guarded room, and darted the other way. Thanks to Grimaud, he knew where the servant’s back staircase was located. Checking first to make sure that no one was watching, he opened a door and slipped through to find the wooden spiral staircase. Quickly he trotted up the stairs to the third floor.
The third floor contained the servants’ quarters, and fortunately there weren’t any to be found. Most of the servants were still cleaning the kitchen. He entered the first room he found. There was a small window, and André went to it. He opened the window and looked out. The roof sloped underneath him as she slipped out upon it. Carefully he walked across the roof. When he reached the edge of the roof right above where he thought the Infanta’ room was, he raised his hands to his mouth and performed a bird call.
The bird call was repeated. André looked down over the edge of the roof. A lone guard paced right below him. André frowned. They didn’t consider guards. Suddenly, an arrow shot out from the trees, impaling the guard. Without a cry, the guard slumped to the ground, lifeless. From behind the trees, Tréville and Bertrand appeared and looked up.
André took off his cloak and doublet. Over his shirt, he had a rope wrapped around his torso. He tied one end around a small protrusion on the roof and wrapped the other end around his waist. He backed towards the edge of the roof and, holding the rope taught, stepped off the roof. Slowly he backed down the wall, step by step. When he reached the window, he rested his feet on the ledge and looked in.
He saw the Infanta Anne of Austria pacing back and forth in the room, either bored or frustrated. The room was elegantly situated with fine furniture and a luscious bed, but even a nicely decorated prison was still a prison. André was amused. Even though she was there prisoner, they still treated her like a queen. Such were the values of royalty. Balancing on the ledge, he pulled out his dagger. He slid the blade between the two window panels. Slowly he raised the blade until he heard the latch on the window slide open. Anne turned at the sound, and her jaw dropped open. André opened the window and motioned for her to be quiet. She nodded and he slipped into the room.
“Your majesty,” he whispered. “Marie de Rohan sent us.”
“How many are you?” she asked.
He unwrapped the rope and lowered it to his friends below. “Three of us,” he said.
“Three?” she said incredulously.
“Yes, but we’re very good,” he said. He looked below. Bertrand tied the rope around his waist and started to climb the wall. When he got to the window, André extended his hand to his friend and hauled Bertrand through the window. Bertrand panted and caught his breath.
“You’re getting old, Bertrand,” André teased.
“Your majesty,” Bertrand said, bowing. “We’re going to lower you to the ground.”
Anne nervously inhaled, then nodded. They knew that she would not be used to such rigorous treatment. They formed a large noose with the end of the rope, fashioning it into a seat. She stepped into the rope, and they instructed her to hold on tight. Bertrand held on to the rope while André picked the Infanta up in his arms. He lowered her out of the window and she hung suspended by the rope. André and Bertrand slowly lowered Anne to ground while Tréville waited below.
When she reached the ground, Tréville loosened the rope. He tied a sack to the rope and Bertrand hailed it up. Tréville and Anne swiftly snuck into the woods. André and Bertrand watched them go. Tréville led Anne through the woods until they came to the crack in the wall where two horses were tethered. Tréville helped Anne to the saddle, and after mounting his own horse, the two of them rode off towards Orléans.
André turned to Bertrand. They knew what they had to do.
- All For One- Chapter Nineteen
The Next Chapter in The Three Musketeers prequel