It didn't take long for the musketeers to arrive at the palace again with their prisoner in tow. When they walked inside, one of the Duke's many servants approached the men and suspiciously looked between them, recognizing them as musketeers, but seeing them as intruders just as everyone else living in Savoy.
"If you wish to speak with the Duke, I am afraid you gentlemen have missed him," the servant said in frustration. "And he will not be returning for some time."
"Where did he go?" Porthos asked angrily as he stepped closer to the man in a more threatening manner.
Athos grabbed his friend's shoulder to pull him back, then continued, "You'll have to forgive our comrade, but we've been told that another of our friend's has been taken by force from within the barricades not long ago. We need to speak with the Duke before he harms our friend. Where did he take him?"
The servant coldly replied, "I do not know anything, Monsieur. Our Lord only informed me and the rest of his servants that he and Gontard will not be returning until much later, most likely not until the morning."
"Then, if you can't help us, you will allow us to escort our prisoner down to the prison hold here beneath these floors where he will remain until we come back to escort him to Paris," Athos stated. "Surely you don't have a problem with this?"
"Not at all, Monsieur," the man answered as he turned and motioned for the three soldiers to follow him.
As they did so, d'Artagnan moved to walk at Athos' side and spoke up softly so that only he and Porthos could hear him as he said, "Something tells me that you have another motive for us escorting our killer down to the prison, rather than to hand him over to the Duke's guards."
Porthos smiled as he responded for their leader, "Most likely the Duke and Gontard have taken Aramis with them, to wherever they are, but it won't hurt to search the dungeon, just to make sure, as well as, as much of the palace as possible."
"I prefer we take a look around for ourselves, rather than trust anyone working for the Duke and Duchess," Athos added. "Wouldn't you?"
Back in Paris…
Morning came around again and though the sun has begun to rise, the palace was still quiet, as most everyone who lived within were still in bed asleep, including the men and women who served the King and Queen, as the days had grown colder due to winter bringing in bitter weather.
Anne however, lie awake within her bed as her mind wandered, keeping her from sleeping. She explained to Captain Treville that her lack of sleep was most likely from her child moving around within her, but the truth was, most of her restlessness came from worry and longing for the man she truly loved, and would never be able to have.
No longer being able to lie in her bed with these thoughts, the Queen rose, pulled on a robe over her nightgown, then left her room as she began to wander the palace halls, having no specific destination in mind as she walked. However, she ended up outside of hers and her husband's bedchambers, where she no longer slept as it was easier for her to sleep away from Louis so long as she was pregnant, a suggestion which Louis came up with, but to which she agreed.
The Queen knocked on the door, hoping to be able to greet her husband and invite him to eat breakfast with her, a tradition which they had seemed to have lost not long after she had told him that she was with child. When no answer came, she knocked once again and finally her husband opened the door wide with a smile on his face that quickly turned to panic as soon as he saw that Anne was standing before him and not one of his servants coming to bring him breakfast as he expected.
"Anne, I am surprised… I didn't expect…" he spoke nervously when Anne's soft and beautiful smile faded when she looked behind her husband and found her childhood friend lying naked beneath the sheets in the bed Anne and Louis shared together. "Anne, I can explain, please."
Tears formed in her eyes and she started to turn away as she replied, "There's no need."
Louis began to chase after her wearing only his robe as he cried, "Anne, I'm sorry. I did not mean to hurt you this way. I love you, but as you're carrying my son…"
"We do not know if our child will be a boy," she interrupted with more anger than she meant to show. "And this baby is ours, not just yours. I am not angry with you for sleeping with Corinne. I could see the way the two of you were acting ever since you met and I suspected that this may happen, especially since I can no longer satisfy your needs while I am pregnant. However, she is my best friend and now, you will only end up breaking her heart."
"Corinne understands that what happened between us last night was nothing more than a throw of passion which will last only for as long as she is here in Paris," Louis answered. "I neither mean to hurt her, nor you."
Anne looked at her husband sadly as she responded, "Whether you've meant to hurt us or not doesn't matter. You are the King. If you say you have done no wrong, then it is so. Now, I'm afraid I have somewhere I need to be. I have invited Madam Bonacieux here to the palace this morning as I wish to speak with her about becoming one of my ladies in waiting. I have come to think quite highly of her stitching and fine cooking. I will see you later this afternoon. Enjoy breakfast."
Louis watched her leave, but this time he didn't follow after her. Instead, he walked back to his bedchambers and once again laid down beside the woman who had now become his mistress as he gently began to stroke her face to wake her. She simply smiled up at him and before she could say a word, the King leaned down and began to kiss her over and over again on her lips, neck, and bare breasts, as he had done hours earlier, quickly forgetting how he had hurt Anne.
Though what the Queen had told her husband about Constance's talent was true, Anne did not actually ask Madam Bonacieux to come to see her. However, it was the first lie she could think of in order to escape from the awkward moment with Louis, as speaking with the woman was something she had on her mind for some time now.
But now, Anne just continued walking until she collapsed on the ground within the gardens around the palace and began to weep. Her tears weren't because she was hurt by her husband's affair, as she did not love him, but because the King could love other women with no consequences. She however, was in love with Aramis and the two of them could never be together, as he would be executed and she would most likely become exiled for their indiscretion should their one night together be discovered by someone other than those devoted to the Queen and this musketeer. It was at this moment that she truly despised her father and mother for arranging hers and Louis' marriage back when she was only a small girl, who once dreamed of marrying for love.