Back in Paris…
Captain Treville was sitting inside his office when the Cardinal walked into the room, then spoke up stating, "Surely you must be getting worried, Captain. Your men should have been back here with the King's sister hours ago. Luckily for them, Louis has been distracted thanks to an unexpected visit from Queen Anne's dearest friend from Austria. Our young King certainly does seem quite smitten."
Treville glared at the Cardinal as he answered, "Yes, so it appears. You wouldn't happen to be planning anything, would you, Cardinal?"
"Of course not," Richelieu replied, knowing full well that the Captain was referring to his scheme to have Queen Anne assassinated.
"As for my men not being back with the Duchess and her son yet, there must be a logical explanation," Treville responded, sounding more worried than he meant to let on, as he was more worried for one of his musketeers, than he was for the rest. "I am certain that they travelled the longer route, seeing as the main road would have led them through the woods where the massacre occurred."
The Cardinal stated coldly, "Your musketeers know that the Duchess demanded that she and her son arrive here to visit her brother as soon as possible. So, why would they take a route that takes a day and a half longer, despite a few of their brothers in arms being killed there?"
The captain stood as he answered angrily, "A few of my men weren't slaughtered, Armand, twenty men were. Then, the deserter came back to Paris only to be killed as well, leaving only a single survivor. If they chose to avoid the main road, then it is because they were trying to protect Aramis from the memories and I commend them for doing so. I am certain they will be here before too long. As you said, our King has become a bit distracted so he wouldn't have noticed the time it is taking for them to arrive."
"Yes, perhaps you are right," Cardinal Richelieu replied smugly as he walked toward the door to prepare to leave. "Though perhaps you ought to have ordered Aramis to remain in Paris, while another musketeer take his place."
"The decision was his to make and he chose to remain with his friends, as any good musketeer would," Treville responded. "Good afternoon, Your Eminence."
Once the Cardinal left his office, Captain Treville angrily shoved all of his parchments and inkwell onto the floor, not because he was angry with his men for being later than expected, but because he feared that his men might have run into danger and the Cardinal's lack of compassion angered him, more so than usual.
It wasn't long before a knock sounded at the door and when the Captain told them to enter, a young boy stepped inside and walked over to the musketeer to hand him a letter, then quickly ran out again upon receiving a coin for his service. Treville opened the parchment and read its contents, a letter from Athos which read, Unforeseen events have made it difficult for us to come home right away. People of Savoy have fallen ill and forced into quarantine by the Duke, Aramis along with them. He believes it possible that they have all been poisoned, though there is a possibility of the sickness being the plague. He is doing all he can to help them, as well as to discover what has caused this unknown illness. Meanwhile the others and I have remained behind in order to see to it that he is protected. The Duchess and the Duke are safe and are understanding of our delay. We will return to Paris, with the Duchess and their son, as soon as possible. –Athos.
When he finished reading, the Captain walked out from his office in order to go and speak with the King, only he ended up running unexpectedly into the Queen instead, and he quickly stated, "Forgive me, Your Highness. I did not mean to startle you, not to mention run into you. Are you alright?"
Anne smiled as she answered kindly, "Yes, I am fine. And the fault was mine. I was not looking where I was going. Are you alright? You appear to be in a hurry."
"I was simply on my way to inform your husband that my men will be a bit delayed in coming home with his sister and her son due to unforeseen circumstances," Captain Treville replied worryingly, though he did not mean to appear so in front of the Queen.
"What has happened?" she asked fearfully. "Is my husband's sister alright? And your men?"
Not knowing of the Queen's love and affair with one of his men, the Captain didn't know to soften the blow as he responded, "Aramis is currently trapped within a quarantine along with a large number of Savoy's people within the city. Apparently an illness has spread among them and the Duke has ordered the quarantine to prevent it from spreading any wider. Aramis will do all he can to heal them if he can. Once they solve this, and the quarantine is lifted, my men will return home, with the Duchess and her son."
Anne's fear was apparent as she asked, "Do your musketeers believe the illness will subside?"
"It is possible that the people have been poisoned, but even if not, I have known Aramis to be smarter than any physician," Treville answered truthfully. "I am certain they will all return alive and well."
"I do hope you are right," she replied softly. "If you'll excuse me, I must go and lie down. I am very tired. My child keeps me awake most nights, whether it is because the baby's kicking inside my belly, or my worry for his or her wellbeing, I am not certain. You shall find Louis in the throne room. He will want to hear this news as well. Thank you, Captain. And please inform me should you hear more from your men."
The Captain nodded, then bowed as she walked past, leaving him alone once again. He walked to the main hall and found the King inside, just as Anne had said. Upon doing so, he noticed that the Cardinal had spoken true in regards to Louis becoming distracted by the beautiful woman sitting beside him as the two of them laughed and shared stories. It was obvious that he also seemed to fancy her, and worried that now as his wife was with child, the King might feel the need to find intimacy with another.