Blondel 13

“Now, Grat,” Blondel comforted, “not so dramatic, please. Tell me what happened.”

“The brooch is missing and she accused me of stealing it.”

She, then; not Sylvia, any more. Blondel fought hard not to lose his look of concern and asked blandly, “But when would you get the chance to steal it? It hung between her breasts, beneath her bodice.”

Grat flushed and said, “Well, this afternoon . . . by the river, uh . . . Well, dammit, she was willing!“

Now Blondel grinned outright. “At least your day wasn’t a total waste.”

That was no comfort. Grat caught Blondel’s arm and said, “Her father does business with Duke Corrin and his men are after me. What am I to do?”

“I have a fast horse. It is saddled, and it is yours.”

Grat wrung his hand in gratitude and cried out his thanks.

Blondel said, “It is the least that I can do. I held the illusion as long as I could.”

Grat’s mouth dropped and he shouted, “You left the real brooch on the trail?”

“I told you I couldn‘t hold the illusion at a distance. They would have had us otherwise.”

“But why didn‘t you tell me?”

“When, Grat? When could I have gotten you alone? She was on you like lice all the last two days.” Then he chuckled. “Besides, if I had told you, you would have missed this afternoon by the riverbank.”

A broad grin creased Grat’s face. “Aye. That‘s right.” Then he cocked his head, hearing voices beyond the tents, and bolted for the horse Blondel had tethered nearby. Leaning down from the saddle, he thrust out his hand and said, “If we ever meet again, I am your man. You‘ve saved me from a terrible fate.”

Blondel took his hand. “Yes,” he said, thinking of Sylvia. “I think I did.”  finis


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