Porthos took a step back and placed his hand on the hilt of his cutlass. “That cocky young pup,” he replied. “Do I sense an insult to my powers of attraction? I just may have to call you out.”
“Very well,” Aramis agreed. “Just please be so kind as to leave my face unblemished. I would like the ladies to remember me as I am now.”
The large man nodded his head ever so slightly, and the two opponents drew their swords, saluted, then engaged.
“Sacrebleu,” D’Artagnan cursed under his breath; that had to be broken up immediately before it became bloody.
The spy looked Laurel up and down. Dressed in a court gown and her hair done up, she was far from presenting a threatening picture, and the sword in her hand looked distinctly out of place. Not to mention that her shoulder was wounded. “You don’t really think you can stop me, mademoiselle,” he informed her in his most condescending tones and moved to pass her.
She raised her weapon, barring his way. “You don’t seriously think that I’m going to let you walk away after the crimes you’ve committed against me and mine.” They stood staring at each other.
Neither gave and Laurel moved to disarm the man. Automatically, Georges parried. Swiftly, trying not to stumble, she retreated at his attack, cursing the skirts that hampered her movements and gave the half-starved and tired man a significant advantage.
She whirled backward, narrowly avoiding his stroke. Disengage, and she backed up several steps, allowing herself just enough time to slit her skirts to reveal the pantalets underneath. The skirts fell at her feet and she jumped away from another lunge. Better, though by no means as good as breeches, a good tunic, and sturdy pair of boots. Men didn’t realize how lucky they had it. Of course they got the better end of the deal in everything.
Her arm wavered as his sword thrust upward, and she linked her blade with his to block the blow. The blow sent little shock waves tingling up her arm. Her right arm simply wasn’t as strong as her left, and she was out of practice in fighting right-handed.
If she ever got out of this and was able to heal, she swore to herself that she’d not neglect her fencing skills for either hand. The balls of her feet ached as she felt every stone and pebble through the thin slippers. Blast fashion for its absurdities! Blast men for dictating not only their own fashion but the fashions of women as well. She lunged, swiping upward, and her stroke was easily knocked aside, almost dislodging her sword in the process.
Her grip failing, she still managed to block the next blow and dance around behind him. Okay, enough was enough. She threw her sword in the air and caught it in her left hand, and Georges looked at her like she was a complete fool. His sword at ready, he circled her. “You really think you still have a chance. Mademoiselle, it seems you are doubly foolish now.”
“Then a fool I will be,” she huffed, attacking him and driving him back, to his surprise.
Nom de nom! The woman was better at fighting with her left hand than with her right.
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