Wednesday, 19 September 2012
What were at least three things you learned during this unit?
I learned how to balance chemical equations. Before we learned that I had no idea that chemical equations could get so complicated but eventually I started to get the hang of balancing chemical equations. A second thing I learned was that Francium is the most reactive element, and that the further down you go in the column of the Alkali metals, the more reactive they are. I also found out that metals give electrons away and non metals gain electrons to form a positive ion.
Which of these three is something you will likely never forget?
I think I will never forget that metals give and non metals gain electrons to form positive ions and that you can tell how many electrons they will give or gain according to the number of the column they are in.
What was your favourite thing we did in this unit? Why?
My favourite thing we did in this unit was watching cesium making a glass beaker explode when it reacted with water. I also liked the watching the X-tra Normal, Bill Nye and Brain Pop videos because they were all funny and instructive.
What is something you are still curious about that you would like to know about?
Something that I am still curious about is what are the elements that form two rows at the bottom of the periodic table and why are they separate?
Monday, 17 September 2012
Chapter 7- Captured
It was early in the morning, and Athos and I stood on a stone bridge above what would have once been the White tower’s moat, unnoticed by Buckingham’s troops that patrolled the grounds below us.
I was feeling ill at ease in my new tower soldier uniform. Buckingham’s men wore outfits of red with a gold cross on the chest. There were white shirts underneath the red over suit with ruffs, and large red hats.
Athos’ face was expressionless as he tied a noose in the piece of rope needed for our plan.
We waited patiently for the last set of troops to come. We picked the soldier at the far right of the last line. Just as he passed underneath the bridge, Athos hung the noose around his neck and pulled tight. He didn’t even have time to scream. The musketeer pulled him up silently. I jumped down and took his place.
It was exhaustingly tedious, marching with the troop. After what seemed like ages of continuous striding in unison, I spotted the door that Aramis and Porthos had described to me: “A low door, painted black, adorned with a golden lion head knocker.”
Quietly I slipped out of the troop and hurried over to the door. Yes, it was the right one. There was the lion knocker, its mouth slightly ajar, baring its fangs to any intruder. The gold leaf layer was already coming off the ring that rested in its jaws. It looked rather menacing. I took a deep breath, and pushed it open slightly. Surprisingly it wasn’t locked, but then again I hadn’t really expected it to be closed.
I froze in mid-step as the hinges creaked ever so slightly. I put my eye to the crack. The room inside was dark and obscure. I thought I saw a small movement inside. I gathered up my wits and told myself, ‘nonsense, Anne, you’re imagining it. Or if you didn’t it was probably a rat.’ Yes, it most likely was a rat. Rats like deep, dark slimy places. So I opened the door completely.
Death lay there, waiting for me in the form of at least twenty experienced and well-trained soldiers. All wore pistols at their belts. I didn’t stand a chance, but if I was going to die, I wanted to go down fighting.
I took out my unfamiliar sword. It was heavy, not meant for someone my size, and the blade and handle weren’t balanced in weight. All I managed were a few clumsy strokes and feints before one of the soldiers landed a blow on my forehead.
If the blade had landed flat on my forehead, I would have probably been unconscious, but it landed on its side. I went down and screwed my eyes shut in agony. I sensed the warm blood trickling down my eyelids as I sent a silent prayer of forgiveness to D’ Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis. It was over.
I felt coarse hands pull me roughly to my feet and before I had time to think about what was happening, my hands were handcuffed behind my back. I was dragged up a flight of spiraling stairs. I heard a heavy, presumably wooden door being swung open.
The guard holding me grunted something. The scraping of chairs on a wooden floor and the clink of coins jolted me back to the reason I was here. The diamonds. “We need her alive, you fools!”
“Am I dead?” I mumbled.
“I don’t think so.” Milady. So she really was a traitor. My eyes snapped open. I had been stripped of my disguise, including my ridiculous hat, so that I looked like myself, wearing only my usual scruffy shirt and trousers. Buckingham came over to me, and, stooping, mopped up my wound.
“There, there,” he crooned softly. Up close, he looked even more frightening. I noticed he had a thick scar on his right cheek, a feature that I had missed out before, and that his eye patch bore a purple fleur- de- lis, identical to the one embroidered on the handkerchief Milady had given me what seemed like an eternity ago. “I hope it doesn’t hurt too much.” He was mocking me, making fun of me with his superiority. He caressed my cheek. He stood up and told something to the two guards that were holding me. I struggled against their grip, but they just tightened it. I was forced to my knees.
“Let me take it from here,” continued Buckingham. The guards retreated to the far side of the wall. My captor held the chains that bound me in a firm grip. Then he knelt behind me and yanked my hair back so that my throat was exposed, vulnerable. I cried out. Buckingham laughed softly and pressed a shining dagger to my throat. “Now,” he whispered in my ear, “you came to London for the diamonds, isn’t that right?” I shook my head frantically. My eyes widened in fear.
“Lying won’t get you anywhere. Never lie to me!” He hissed, pressing the blade down even more so that tiny beads of scarlet blood appeared. “Where are your comrades?” he asked. I opened my mouth to answer, but instead it was D’ Artagnan who answered.
“Anne! Anne!” I managed a feeble smile. All four of my friends were in the airship in front of the window. D’ Artagnan leaped onto the windowsill with a loud thump.
Taken by surprise, Buckingham spun around to face him. In doing so, he loosened his hold on my chains. I seized my chance to escape. I lunged towards D’ Artagnan, but I was jerked backwards and fell. Buckingham was restraining me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Milady disappear out of the room.
As soon as she had gone, two red faced guards stumbled in and shouted; “The diamonds! They’re gone!”
“Yes, and I wonder who took them,” said Aramis mockingly. The diamond necklace shimmered at his belt like pools of clear water reflecting the sunlight.
Buckingham heaved me to my feet and walked me so close to D’ Artagnan so that I was just out of reach of safety. He put his knife to the red line that was clearly visible on my neck. “Now,” he told D’ Artagnan, “we can have a deal arranged. I have the girl, you have the diamonds.” D’ Artagnan eyed him suspiciously. “Continue.” Buckingham was getting impatient.
“Either you give me the diamonds, my friend-”
“I am not your friend,” interrupted D’ Artagnan.
“Either you give me the diamonds,” he snarled at D’ Artagnan, “or you watch your friend die.”
“No!” I screamed. “No! Don’t give them to him! He’ll kill you all the same! Just bring the diamonds back to the queen! I don’t care if I die!” my tears were streaming down my face, dropping red on my shirt as they mingled with the blood from my scalp wound.
“Be quiet!” Buckingham silenced me with a kick. D’ Artagnan boarded the airship once more. I felt my spirits rise, but not for long. He stepped back on the windowsill, the jewels dangling from his hand. Buckingham eyed them greedily.
“She goes free, and you get the diamonds.” Buckingham nodded. “And you will not use any weapons against us until we are out of sight.”
“You have my word.”
“On one condition. If I may, my lord,” one of the guards stepped forward. “She doesn’t struggle until we let her go, and she walks to you.” He turned to me. “Understand, darling? Or else-” he made a horizontal slicing motion with his hand across his throat. I gulped and saw D’ Artagnan’s eyes widen. We both knew the clear meaning of that.
“Yes, on that condition.” Agreed Buckingham.
“Very well. Then she goes free. Untie her now.” I was relieved of my chains. I rubbed my sore wrists and slowly came level to D’ Artagnan. He hugged me tightly, as if he was my father, and I breathed in his warm and comforting scent.
“You should have let me die.” I whispered.
“No. If you were killed, I would never forgive myself, and you know that. Now get to safety.” He let go of me and gave me a gentle push towards the window. I clambered up onto the windowsill and Porthos threw me a rope. I grabbed it, wound my feet and hands around it, and jumped off the tower. I looked back in time to see D’ Artagnan toss the necklace towards Buckingham, and he too leaped off the sill, and clambered on board.
WHAM. The whole ship shuddered with such force that it me off balance. Buckingham had lied. He was attacking us. I should have known when I saw the fire leap in his eyes when he gave his word to D’ Artagnan.
I straightened up, only to duck down quickly when a cannonball whizzed through the air, missing me by inches.
Aramis looked like he was about to burst like bomb with fury. A bomb. That gave me an idea. I grabbed the tiny explosive weapon from the chest of drawers, and tossed it to Aramis, who seemed to have grasped my plan. He lit it and hurled it through the open window of Buckingham’s room. Another violent shudder. My head throbbed. The last thing I saw before I blacked out was the tower exploding, raining shards of stone down on us, and then the airship swerved sharply to the left to avoid a huge piece of rock that once made up the tower falling down. Falling. Falling echoed a voice inside my head. I fell asleep on deck.
Thursday, 13 September 2012
Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Chapter 5- The Missing Diamonds
“D’ Artagnan, wake up!” I yelled at D’ Artagnan that morning. The sun was still rising and the sky was as red as blood. That didn’t work, so I tipped his mattress over so he fell on to the floor. “Get up” I said.
“What’s happening?” a sharp rap answered.
“Athos! Porthos! Aramis!” They were awake in an instant. We went downstairs, swords at the ready. Athos opened the door and breathed out a sigh of relief. I elbowed D’ Artagnan and whispered; “Hey, look it’s your girlfriend!”
“Shut up!” he said, but he had gone scarlet. She stepped inside.
“Look, D’ Artagnan, I don’t have much time, so listen, okay? Yesterday the queen’s diamond necklace was stolen. I suspect Buckingham is behind it. I’m going to need you to get them back. They were given to the queen as a present from the king for their marriage. In one week it’s their wedding anniversary. You have that much time to bring them back.”
“And what if we don’t want to do it?” asked D’ Artagnan. Constance (that was her name) flung her arms around his neck and kissed him full on the lips. I grimaced. It was a long time before they broke apart.
“Now will you do it?”
“Yes. Yes,” D’ Artagnan said dreamily. He had gone even redder.
“Excellent. I have got a few things to tell you that might be useful to you. Buckingham is in London, and I think you can guess where he’s hidden the diamonds.”
“The tower of London.” Said Athos immediately.
“Correct. In the white tower. You’d better leave today if you want to get a good head start.”
“How will we get across the channel? We’ve got no ship.” I asked.
“You’ll be arriving in his majesty’s new airship.” She turned to me and grasped my hand. Our eyes locked.
“I’m sorry about what happened to you yesterday.” I bit back a sob. Her eyes were full of pity, and I could tell she’d noticed my eyes were red from crying. She gripped my hand tighter and said in a fierce voice, “this is your chance, Anne. This is your chance to show the king that you’re worthy enough to become a musketeer. And keep those curls hidden, yes?” I nodded and forced a smile on my face. She turned to Athos and said; “I’ll meet you at the main port in half an hour.” And with a sweep of her long fair hair, she was gone.
Chapter 6- Escape to London
When we arrived at the main port, Constance quickly pulled us in the middle of some stacked up cargo crates.
“What the-” began D’ Artagnan.
“Shhh! Look!” she jerked her head towards one of the ships that was being loaded. It had the Union Jack hoisted up on its main mast. I followed he gesture and saw three heavily armed palace soldiers. Their uniforms were identical to the ones we fought two days ago.
I breathed in sharply. “They were put here for us.”
“Yes. Somehow they knew that you were heading to London today. Buckingham must have sent the to capture all of you. If he has the diamonds, he will hand you over to the king as criminals and come back to Paris, triumphant. He would tell the king that you stole the diamonds and would have the pleasure to execute you.”
“Then why don’t we fight them?” I breathed.
“No!” said Aramis. “If we fight them, we’ll draw attention to ourselves and break our promise we made to the king. Either way we’ll get killed.”
“There’s another option. Leave it to me.” Said Constance. She was tying the fastenings of a black cloak that looked very similar to our cloaks. Pulling the hood over her head, she disappeared. She returned a moment later riding a horse that was of the same type as Buttercup- white with black spots. She rode past the guards at a trot, and when she was sure they had noticed her, she quickened her pace and vanished from sight around a bend.
The guards were completely fooled. “There! That’s the boy! Quick!” One of them flung an arm out towards the direction Constance had gone, bonking his neighbor on the nose. They got into an argument. Then after a ridiculously long time, they all ran in hot pursuit of Constance.
D’ Artagnan rolled his eyes as we watched the soldiers disappear with bated breath. “How thick can you get? They haven’t even left one behind to supervise the area!”
“Be happy that they’re stupid,” I said.
Seizing the chance Constance had given us, we stepped out of our hiding place and sprinted to the airship that was waiting for us. As we climbed aboard, I couldn’t help notice that Buckingham had thought about building it. It was smaller and plainer than his airship. Nevertheless, it would get us to London.
It took us one day and almost two nights to cross the English Channel. By the time London came into view, the first stars were already making their way into the sky. We decided to sail the last little bit on water. We had spent the whole voyage planning and re-planning strategies to carry out the day we arrived in Great Britain. Finally we came up of a suitable plan of how to steal the diamonds. So, after a fitful night of sleeping, tossing and turning around in anxiety, we put our plan into action.
Sunday, 9 September 2012
What is one thing you have learned so far in this class?
So far, I've learned how to make a blog. It's the first time for me that I have my own personal space on the internet that I can feel free to edit and mess around with. I love my blog. In english, my blog has helped me gain confidence. Before I would never share a story that i would write on my own, that isn't homework. My blog has helped me share my work without making me feel embarrassed.
What is one thing you enjoy about this class?
I really enjoy english. It's always fun. So far in school, english has been my favourite subject for each year. I think it's because my two favourite things to do in the world are to read and write. And that's part of english. I like my blog- it's the thing that I enjoy the most in english along with free writing.
What is one thing you wish we could do differently or wish I would add?
I wish we could have more free writing time. I also wish that we could sometimes begin the lesson with half an hour of reading quietly, like last year. I can't wait until we get onto the novel reading. I just hope we're not going to read 'BOY', by Roald Dahl, because, believe me, it gets boring after you've read it like once every year for 4 years in a row at school, plus three times for fun.
Overall, l love english. It's just a great way to finish the day on monday. It doesn't stress me out. Reading and writing relieve my stress. I just LOVE english!
Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Chapter 3 – In the Presence of His Majesty
The next, morning, after I had cleaned my wound and bandaged it up with D’ Artagnan’s help, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis told us everything.
“Since ages, we served the king. We always succeeded in completing our missions and deeds that he assigned to us. We were considered as heroes all over the land. Everyone called us the three musketeers.” Began Athos.
“Then, one day, we failed the hardest and most impossible mission the king had given us yet.” Continued Porthos bitterly. “The king was furious. Wine!” he shouted and a short, plump figure rushed into the room on its stout legs. He looked remotely like Porthos, except for the fact that Porthos was practically bald and was taller.
“The thing, is, sir, you’ve finished all of the wine. It’s all gone, sir. Every single last drop is gone. Gone.”
“Well then buy some more!” yelled Porthos.
“The thing is, sir, we’re sort of out of money. It’s all gone, sir. Almost every last pistole. Gone. Gone.”
Porthos looked so devastated, I handed him twelve pistoles. “It’s for letting us stay here.”
“Thank you. Here, buy some more wine.” Porthos handed the little man some money, and he scurried out of the room.
“So, what happened after you failed?” asked D’ Artagnan.
“Well, as you can probably imagine, the king was furious. Disappointed in us. He sort of abandoned us. So we gave up. Stopped fighting. We just lived our lives here, drinking.” Concluded Aramis.
“But you’re the three musketeers!” I protested. “You don’t just give up!” Before any of them could argue with me, however, the little man came bursting through the door. He was holding three bottles of French wine in his arms. He clunked one loudly on the wooden table. “There you go, sir. I’ll go put the other bottles away, then, sir.”
“Yes, yes.” Said Porthos impatiently. The man turned around to go, but Athos stopped him.
“Before you go, remember to leave your room to our guests.” The man didn’t look too happy about this.
“That means I’ll have to sleep on the balcony.” He muttered.
“Correct.” Said Amos.
“Where all those bloody pigeons will poop on me.” He said even more quietly.
The next morning, Athos explained to us what we were going to do. “We have been ordered to go to the palace grounds today, to be judged by his majesty the king.” He told us at breakfast. His tone was not a happy one.
“Why?” asked D’ Artagnan.
“Because we fought the cardinal’s guards yesterday.” D’ Artagnan and I were driven into lapsed silence as we considered this injustice.
“Well, we had better get going. It’s almost ten o’clock and we’re expected there at eleven. It’s an hour on horseback.”
We rode in silence to the place. None of us were looking particularly happy. At least, because we fought the Cardinal’s guards, we weren’t dead. Not yet, anyway.
We arrived at the palace grounds at a quarter to eleven, where two sallow- faced guards escorted us inside, where the king stood, waiting for us, with His Eminence standing beside him, dressed in a scarlet robe with a Christian cross dangling from his neck.
“Your Majesty,” we said in chorus and kneeled down on the cold marble floor in front of the young king.
All of my companions took of their plumed hats, all except for me. Now wasn’t the time to add on extra intensity to the situation we had landed. Thankfully, the king didn’t seem to notice.
“You all know, I presume, why you have been conducted here.” He began.
“Yes, your majesty.”
“Good. Now, to begin with, what exactly were the numbers?”
“About five against fifty, your majesty.” Said Athos.
“Five against fifty. Astounding.” The king repeated. “And you killed them all?”
“Yes, your majesty.”
“Now, I need to decide what to do with you.” His Majesty concluded. No sooner had the words spilled out of his mouth than Queen Anne herself, with her two maidservants behind her, entered the room.
“Don’t be too harsh on them, dear,” The Queen looked radiant in a red silk dress, embroidered with patterns of flowers in gold thread.
“Don’t you worry, I won’t be.” She walked elegantly over to him and whispered something in his ear.
The king narrowed his eyes and looked at me. “Stand up, boy.” My whole body tensed. I obeyed, and stood up, trembling.
“What is your name?”
“Anne, your majesty.” Oh, curse me! I should have used a false name, a boy’s name. Anne is a girl’s name!
I felt the blood trickling down my side- the wound had opened up. Good. Let it bleed.
“Have you no respect, Anne? Take off your hat.” I looked at D’ Artagnan for help, but it was Porthos who answered my unspoken question.
“Take it off.”
Slowly, dreading what would happen next, I removed my hat and my long red curls showed themselves again. Everyone looked surprised and shocked except for my companions and one of the maidservants. She looked about D’ Artagnan’s age, and had long, straight, blonde hair and very blue eyes. She was very pretty, and I could tell that D’ Artagnan had fallen for her.
“But you’re a girl, merciful heavens!” exclaimed the king.
“Yes your majesty,” I mumbled, and fixed my eyes on an interesting crack in one of the marble tiles.
“Your age?” demanded the Cardinal De Richelieu.
“Thirteen, your Eminence.”
“And you fought these soldiers alongside these four?”
“Yes, your majesty.”
“And they did tis to you?” I tore my gaze away from the floor and looked where he was pointing. His finger was trained on the thick line of blood that had formed on my shirt. It didn’t hurt so much now. “Yes, your majesty.”
“Now get down.” I kneeled down beside D’ Artagnan. “I have come to a final decision,” the king said grandly. “You must promise me not to get into any more trouble with these soldiers. Or else there won’t be any of them left!” He chuckled.
“We promise, your majesty.” Aramis gave his word.
“Good. And you, girl, you are not to use any weapons anymore. You are to become a lady. Understood?”
“No- I mean, yes, your majesty,” I said in a barely audible voice.
My heart sank. I had failed. All this- all that training with my stepfather, all those years, the long journey to Paris, that was all… for nothing. I felt like crying.
4- The Airship
No sooner had those words come out of my mouth than the sound of breaking stone sounded from outside. The king, queen, maidservants, His Eminence and we five rushed out of the palace doors.
Before us, in the middle of a sea of red and black troops, stood a gargantuan yet magnificent ship- and airship. It was made of an actual ship except for the fact that the sails and mast had been replaced by an enormous hydrogen filled balloon made out of a lightweight violet cloth which bore the now familiar fleur-de-lis.
The door opened up, and out came our worst enemy, chief Buckingham. He strode down the wooden gangplank towards us in a most pompous manner. I stuffed my hair quickly in my hat. D’ Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis also put on their hats. I could see that they, like I, had no intentions whatsoever of showing any kind of respect to Buckingham.
Buckingham walked up to the king, gave him a ridiculously short bow, and turned to De Richelieu. “Wonderful creation, isn’t it?”
“Indeed it is,” replied His Eminence.
“Why haven’t I got one?” whined the King. “I order you to construct one for me!”
“It shall be done, your Highness.”
“Excellent. Guards!” Two surly looking men appeared beside the king. “Will you please escort the five young people to the stables.” We were led to the stables, where Night and Buttercup greeted us with nose nudges and ecstatic whinnies. Once we had saddled our horses, we started the long rout back home.
We went slowly and got home at around three in the afternoon, where an anxious Monsieur Bonacieux, upon seeing our arrival, began to bomb us with questions.
“We were lucky,” said Athos at dinner.
“Lucky?” I scoffed. “Lucky?”
“Well yes, if you look at the fact that we weren’t jailed or executed.” Said Porthos, sounding amused. Well, I was not amused in anyway of the ending result of our visit.
“I’d rather die than give this up,” I placed my sword on the table.
“Come on, Anne, it’s not the end of the world,” D’ Artagnan was saying.
“Stop it, D’ Artagnan, you’re not helping. And for your information, it is the end of the world.” I could feel the tears coming, so I stood up, snatched my sword from the table and stormed upstairs.
“Come back here, Anne! You haven’t eaten anything!” D’ Artagnan shouted, but I ignored him, although he spoke the truth. Instead I slammed the door of my bedroom behind me; re bandaged my wound up and got into bed. Life was so unfair.
Night had already fallen when someone came in. “Anne-”
“Go away, Athos,” I said in a strangled voice, and I pulled the covers over my head. I didn’t get to sleep until midnight. I lay awake, tossing and turning.
The next morning, I was woken by a sharp rapping sound coming from the front door.
Monday, 3 September 2012
Chapter 2- 5 against 50
On our way I handed D’ Artagnan back his sword, and told him he might need it. I was right, too, although at the time I didn’t know it.
The center of Paris was a busy market. There were people yelling out things like “Best suits here!” and others waving chickens around so that the feathers flew everywhere. Several people were walking about oddly and absentmindedly doing odd things. Probably drunks. We decided to have a look around so we tied up the horses to a pillar where almost nobody went by and went off to look curiously at all of the stalls. You get markets like this in Gascony, but never some this big and this hectic.
I looked around. It was so interesting. The crowds were huge around people that did street spectacles. Suddenly I noticed someone familiar. I don’t remember from where. It must've been a long time ago, but when I pointed him out to D’ Artagnan with a nudge and a jerk of my head his eyes instantly arrowed. The man must have seen us, because he pushed through the crowd, earning himself disapproving shouts and angry yells. We gave chase. I ran so fast that I accidentally stepped on a gentleman’s foot.
“Sorry sir,” I gasped and tuned around to continue my way. He grabbed me by the arm. I spun around to face him. He wore a cloak and a feathered hat. He was a big, strong man with a dark moustache and hair that was the same length as D’ Artagnan, who stopped beside me.
“Look,” I said, “I’m in a hurry, okay? So can you please-”
“I just got those boots polished, you know. I’ll fight you. Noon, the square behind that huge cathedral.” He pointed it out to me.
“Deal. I’ll be there.”
“I warn you, boy, if you’re not there on time, or if you don’t come, I will hunt you down and kill you. Understood?”
I nodded, perplexed at how someone could carry out such a threat because of a bit of dirt on a boot. He let go of me and so D’ Artagnan and I hurried after the man we saw before.
We rushed through a stall where a portly gentleman was trying on different suits. “Blue or gold?” he was saying when D’ Artagnan crashed into him.
“Hey! Watch it!”
“One o’clock, the square behind the big cathedral.” D’ Artagnan panted and darted down the street. After a while D’ Artagnan stopped so abruptly that I almost ran into him.
“What are you doing?” I hissed. “We’re sup-”
“It’s no use, Anne,” D’ Artagnan interrupted. “We’ve lost him.”
I cast a glance around and saw that he was right. There was almost no one in sight. “Let’s get going. It’s almost twelve o’clock.”
He nodded. We walked in silence towards the cathedral. As we trudged along started to wonder whether the man whose boot I had dirtied would use a pistol, like the soldier with the eye patch. What if he shot D’ Artagnan in the chest and he died? What if I died? I was so immersed in my own thoughts that I walked straight into a tall, man clad in black, wearing a black cloak and who, unfortunately for me, was in the middle of drinking some alcoholic beverage. It must have been an expensive drink, because when I bumped into him, he stopped me short and snarled, “You made m spill my drink, boy!”
“I- I’m sorry!” I stammered, and offered him six pistoles to buy himself a new drink.
“Six pistoles?” he looked surprised. “Six pistoles?” he repeated. He seized me by the scruff of my shirt so I could his mustached face clearly. He bore many scars on his face. This was a man who’d fought many fights and won. “You’ll pay dearly for that, boy.”
“Two- two o’clock, the square be- behind the big cathedral over there.” I choked.
“Very well, I’ll be there.” He released me so that I fell to my knees. D’ Artagnan grabbed my hand and helped me up. When I looked up I saw the third man we had met hurrying off to the cathedral. I shod D’ Artagnan a puzzled glance, but he didn’t look happy.
“I’m sorry.” I whispered. “It’s only our second day here and I’ve caused two people to be after us.”
“It’s okay,” he answered. “At least if we die, we’ll be killed by a musketeer, and that’s not too bad.”
I gasped. “Those men we angered are the three musketeers?”
“In case you didn’t notice, they had identical swords to ours.”
“No, I didn’t notice. I suppose I was too busy walking into people.” He laughed.
We arrived at the square just as the church bells chimed for twelve o’clock. Something wasn’t right though. All three of the gentlemen we had bumped into this morning were waiting for us.
“Why the puzzled expression?” asked the Portly gentleman.
All three of them were smirking, as if pleased with themselves and, as D’ Artagnan told me, they were all fingering identical swords to ours.
“What my biggest concern is,” I said angrily, “is what happened to the one o’clock and two o’clock?”
“We decided to come together, it wastes less time.” Answered the man whom I had offered the six pistoles.
“Well then! Who wants to go first?” asked the portly man. “I’ll fight this strapping young man, since he was the one who troubled me. How old are you?”
“Sixteen,” came the reply.
“And you, boy?” he pointed to me.
“Thirteen,” I said.
“So who’s going to fight this this thirteen-year old?” he demanded with a mocking voice. Light leaped in his eyes as he looked at me. I stared defiantly back.
“I will,” concluded the third man we had disturbed.
“Ha! Athos! Can you imagine a thirteen year old beating you in a swordfight? This is child’s play!”
“No, I cannot, Porthos.”
“And you, Aramis?”
The man whose foot I’d stepped on merely shook his head and contented himself with sitting on a cart and saying, “I’ll just watch the show, then.”
I turned to Athos. I took out my sword and we bowed to each other.
“Ready to die?” my opponent breathed.
“I’ll do my best,” I replied with a grim smile. Our swords were crossed and we were about to begin when Aramis suddenly uttered a warning cry.
“Stop!” he barked.
I looked at Athos for explanations. “We must re unite now to fight against a grater foe. It’s the Cardinal De. Richelieu’s troops. They don’t let people fight with swords. If they see you, you’re sent to the king.”
“That’s disgusting!” I exclaimed. I turned around to face the enemy. I gulped. Leading them, on horseback, I recognized the man who had insulted Night and Buttercup and who had shot D’ Artagnan the day before.
“What do we do?” I asked D’ Artagnan, who had come over to the three of us with Porthos.
“We fight,” answered Porthos. I swallowed my fear. There were at least fifty trained soldiers against us five. That makes ten soldiers each. The five of us formed a small ring and held our swords out. I clutched D’ Artagnan’s hand and bit by lip so hard that soon I felt the bitter taste of blood in my mouth.
“It’s all right. We’re going to win.” He stroked the plumes on my hat soothingly, although I could see that he was just as scared as I was. Shaking, I let go of him and clutched my sword in a steady hand. Already our enemy was forming a large circle. About a dozen swords were trained on me. The whole square waited with bated breath.
I couldn’t stand the suspense much longer. I launched myself forward to meet my fate. It was pandemonium. The whole square was in uproar. Metal clashed against metal, within a few minutes the cobblestones were littered with corpses, the ground slick with blood hat was seeping through cracks in the stone. It was a horrifying sight.
I fought soldier after soldier. Stabbing, kicking, punching – eventually killing- my opponents. After my first kill, I felt slightly sick. Never before had I killed a living thing like an animal or- I didn’t even like to think of it- a human. But I soon recovered, and although I felt bad about it, I told myself that to become a real musketeer, you have to get used to this sort of thing. Athos, Porthos and Aramis were fighting without a problem. D’ Artagnan was battling like some wild animal. We were going to win.
The five of us fought bravely, but when at least half of the soldiers lay slaughtered at our feet, I saw the man with the eye patch galloping away the way he had come from. I furrowed my brow and thought. Why would he go away like that? He was probably going to the king. But why?
A soldier took advantage of my distraction and hurled a dagger at exactly the right angle so that it would pierce my heart. I would have died if Porthos hadn’t shoved another man in front of me. He took the blow. I heard a gurgle, blood trickled out of his mouth, he swayed, and then fell backward. I leaped out of the way, but too late. The corpse pinned the right side of me to the ground, the dagger still sticking out of it. I couldn’t move. Someone kicked a knife at me, causing it to carve a nice, long gash on my left side running from the top of my ribs to my hips. It was deep, and I gasped in pain. The word started to swim before my eyes. I blinked and saw one of the black clad men standing over me, sword raised above me. I sat up, clutching my only chance. I could feel the warm blood seeping through my shirt. I thought it was over when my hat tumbled off and my long mane of dark red hair cascaded down my shoulders. My opponent stood transfixed in shock. Clearly he wasn’t one of those people who have he natural gift of recovering of shock quickly. I grasped my chance, and, despite the pain, I stood up and drove the blade of my sword into his heart. The light in his eyes was extinguished and he fell, lifeless, to the ground.
All was silent. There were no remaining soldiers. All lay dead upon the blood stained cobblestones of the Cathedral Square. My head swam. I had lost too much blood. I collapsed just as Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’ Artagnan came over to me. I hastily tried to stuff my hair back in my hat, but I soon gave up. You could read it as plainly as words on their faces that they had seen. All except D’ Artagnan, obviously, were surprised.
Athos, who seemed to be the leader of the three, rounded on me. “Why didn’t you tell us? You’re a girl, heavens above! Girls don’t run around, looking for trouble! They stay at home, cooking, and sewing, not fighting brutal and bloody battles with the Cardinal’s guards! Girls are supposed to become ladies!”
“I don’t want to be a lady!” I said angrily. “I want to fight.”
“Nonsense!” spat Aramis. “Did you know?” he asked D’ Artagnan.
“Of course. She’s my best friend. She would never keep something like that away from me. Honestly, you can trust her.” I smiled at D’ Artagnan and he returned it.
“What is your name, girl?”
“And you?” Porthos pointed at D’ Artagnan.
“Should we start where we stopped?” said Aramis. I shook my head violently. The pain of my wound was so bad I winced. Luckily, Athos noticed.
“I think not, Aramis.” He said.
“Where did Buckingham disappear to?” asked Porthos. There was a hint of worry in his voice.
“Who?” said D’ Artagnan and I in chorus.
“Their chief.” he gestured carelessly at the corpses on the ground with a sweep of his arm. “The man with the eye patch riding the horse.”
“He went that way, I said, pointing in the direction of where the troops had come from.” Athos swore.
“What’s so bad about that?” demanded D’ Artagnan as he helped me to my feet.
“We’ll tell you later. Not here.”
“What do you mean, later?” I said.
“Well, let’s just say you two can stay with us. You’ve proved yourselves worthy enough to stay at our house.” D’ Artagnan and I exchanged surprised glances, grinning.
“Let’s get our horses, then.” Said D’ Artagnan.