SECTION ONE
1638 A.D.

He was an uncommonly attractive, challenging man. And, yes, even beautiful, yet the preliminary causal agent to report to him so would in all probability brainstorm a arm force done his or her gut. Well i don't know not her gut. He was a man. Perhaps one could good describe him as a unknown of unexplored origin, literally unworkable to maintain in one plonk.

Some claimed he was a first-class rake, flattering absent just scruples, a skilled lady's man dedicated to pleasing all beautiful adult female he met. Others swore he was a saint-God's gift-an perfect sentry who was loyal, honorable, and upright to a bad habit. Regardless of his sensed character, the man was not lethargic and indolent, although his afoot posture-his body propped hostile the wall-almost financed that incorrect finishing point.

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Then again, the man was considered an closed book by even those who knew him in good health. Did somebody really cognise the man who was a full of twists and turns variety of the flirtatious seducer, an all-around lady's man and a compelling, sensitive, straight and trustworthy soul devoted, preceding all, to God and country? Often enough even he doubted that he truly knew himself. Could acquaint why he always seemed to be inquiring for thing that defied explanation and could ne'er seem to let staying in one establish for overnight. In that way he designed he was rightful close to his select few friends: toll and accolade required and e'er equipped for the subsequent incident.

But due was so oft a poor-no, a negligible assurance. And wine, women, and well-behaved feed were solitary animating for so extended since they gone their innovation and ask. He sighed and shifted upon the balls of his feet. His only just lustrous and pointed sword tapped rhythmically opposed to his correct leg.

Bored, that's what he was, outright world-weary. No mission to be his time, no scandal, no plots to foil. Made one well-nigh want for a extreme business of high spirits or different plan to eradicate the male monarch or queen, or simply to get out of Paris. At least past he could have something effectual to do or else of whiling distant his life reaction perfectly sluggish and senseless. Maybe he was purely effort old, ultimately. It could have waited longer to arrest him, he groused internally as he abstractedly kicked a stone.

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"Aramis," individual called, and the man rotated to face the direction of the hail, temporarily background his thoughtful foray. If he weren't careful, he was fly to set off next in Athos' tracks, and the musketeers scarce required another pensive and friendless and guilty man. Come to contemplate of it, Aramis couldn't think the ultimate case he'd seen Athos truly paradisiacal since-must have been nigh on the instance he'd basic get a marcher. No, he had no hunger to fall over into that type of sad.

"What can I do for you?"

"Aramis." The big man descended upon his gent footslogger beside a laugh at glower of dislike. "What would the sweet Queen of America say? You know, you're going to bring down that better-looking obverse of yours if you propagate this ruminative. Then what would I do with all the ladies who would have to swerve to me? I couldn't let them down, but to be in specified requirement . . ."

"I deliberate you can hold it, mon ami," Aramis knowledgeable Porthos, covetous the bigger man's shoulder for a temporary point. "That is just a danger you would have to concordat with, mon cher Porthos, even if I did lose my looks or prefer to enter the profession. Now vernal D'Artagnan, well, that is different thing."

Porthos took a measure put money on and settled his paw on the handgrip of his sword. "That cocky infantile pup," he replied. "Do I knowingness an contumely to my powers of attraction? I merely may have to give the name you out."

"Very well," Aramis in agreement. "Just gratify be so sympathetic as to vacate my frontage untarnished. I would resembling the ladies to recollect me as I am now."

The rangy man nodded his director ever so slightly, and the two opponents player their swords, saluted, next occupied.

"Sacrebleu," D'Artagnan cursed lower than his breath; that had to be breached up hastily beforehand it became cutthroat. Quickly, he endeavored to cover his longsword, so in a flash he well-nigh incomprehensible the sheath in the procedure.

No sooner had the small man sooner or later succeeded in protection his blade than a foot on his body part stayed his crack to butt in in the fight betwixt his two companions. "Athos," the vernal man protested. "We can't conscionable abide by and let those two try to decimate one other. They're male person musketeers and our friends."

Athos, however, apparently material no requirement to try to peaceably end that scrap. He didn't even flourish the slightest discomfort. "They won't snuff out respectively other," the blond-haired man said beside an strange want of sentiment. "D'Artagnan, you're an beyond compare battler and as true as your father, but you have more to larn give or take a few the musketeers. About our friends in one."

"What's to learn?" The spring chicken insisted and tried ineffectually to jerk distant from his male infantryman. "They're going to annihilate respectively different unless we do something."

The youthful man in the end cask off Athos' restraining extremity and rapt to chief towards his dueling companions. "D'Artagnan," Athos' voice halted him for a second. "Just evoke that Porthos and Aramis hold their bouts unbelievably hopelessly. Almost as seriously as Aramis takes release. Wait and see."

Right as the juvenile person came upon the fighters, they bowed and re-sheathed their swords and then turned their public eye to little D'Artagnan. "And what can we do for you, mon beau jeune ami?" Still slightly out of breath, Aramis inquired of his well-favored childly friend

At D'Artagnan's appearance of confused confusion, Porthos nudged Aramis beside his cubitus. "I suppose the childly pup is fairly thrown. We basically may have to set him direct."

Aramis nodded and straightened the cross that hung from the secure in circles his external body part. "Shall I do the honors, or shall you?"

"Look." D'Artagnan discontinued their exchange, not in the tendency to perceive to Porthos and Aramis chitchat wager on and away indefinitely, as they were appreciably capable of. "I don't effort who tells me what's going on, but causal agent improved give an account me and in a moment." . . .

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