Chapter 11: The Woman down the road

Mabelle had changed her attire and got a horse to ride to the market in search of ingredients. Curtis and Rylan offered to take her, but she was insistent on going on her own this time much to the disappointment of Curtis, who had accompanied her to the market ever since she first started working at the estate.

Mabelle sped down the path in the direction of the market, but began to slow her pace when she noticed a woman sitting on the side of the road on a rock with a troubled look. Mabelle stopped her horse next to the woman making the woman look up at her revealing her garnet green eyes and asked if she needed any assistance.

The woman looked to be around her early twenties and judging by the fabric of her chestnut brown skirt, the bustle that made the dress appear larger in the back, and the elaborate jewelry on her wrists and neckline; she was of the richer class. Her ash brown hair was tied up in a neat bun with pearls coiled around giving her the very image of an heiress.

The woman stood up looking up at Mabelle and stated, “Excuse me, but can I trouble you for your horse?”

“My horse…are you lost?”

“Not lost,” stated the woman, “Just troubled since my horse took off with my carriage, when I stopped to admire the clouds.”

Mabelle stared at the woman and then looked up at the cloudless sky before facing the woman again with a smile.

“I must have missed the clouds,” stated Mabelle and then got down from her horse. She curtsied before the woman and stated, “I will be glad to offer my horse to you my lady, but I would need to know your name first, since it would be improper to lend my horse to a total stranger.”

The woman gasped saying, “Quite true. My name is Adelaide Clementine, the Madam of the Clementine Estate.”

“Clementine Estate, if my memory serves me right, that is quite far from this location.”

“It was,” stated Adelaide with a giggle and added, “But not anymore, since my beloved husband moved here about three days ago, so he can be closer to his cousin.”

“I see.”

“Now about that horse.”

“Oh yes, but I believe I still have yet to introduce myself before my lady.”

“Quite true, so speak your name.”

Mabelle nodded and curtsied once again as she made her introduction.

“My name is Mabelle Winchester, the head maid of the Edwardson Estate.”

Adelaide’s eyes widened and then a smile formed on her face.

“I see, so you are the maid of my Cousin-in-law’s estate.”

Mabelle smiled asking, “So the cousin of your husband you spoke of is my employer?” Adelaide nodded, clearly excited by this discovery.

“My beloved husband is the older cousin of your mistress.”

“Ah, the Madam.”

“That’s right. In fact, I was on my way to the Edwardson estate to meet her. It has been ages since I last saw her. Still bedridden I heard. The Poor lass is wasting away in bed and has quite the temper still from what I heard. I don’t know how dear Frederick deals with her. She might be the death of him.

Mabelle listened to the tone of Adelaide as she spoke of Ema detecting slight traces of sarcasm in her voice. Mabelle had met women like Adelaide before during her assassin days…women who spoke of others behind their backs with a wicked heart. Mabelle forced a smile on her face as she curtsied before Adelaide again.

“I apologize if you feel offended, but I would suggest you don’t hold any ill intention toward my Madam.”

Adelaide looked at Mabelle with a bewildered look asking, “When have I spoken ill of my dear Cousin-in-law?”

“You should listen to yourself, Lady Adelaide.”

Adelaide frowned saying, “I say…anyway, please hand over your horse or would you rather I report your rudeness to your master.”

“You are free to use my horse, but before I let you take your leave…I would suggest you lower your head.”

“What?”

The next thing Adelaide knew, Mabelle had yanked the front of her dress forcing her to the ground. Before she could yell out her objection, an arrow rushed above her head barely missing a strand of her hair. Mabelle caught the arrow between her index and middle finger and then flung it into the trees. Afterwards, Mabelle forced Adelaide onto her horse and smacked the horse’s behind forcing the horse to run down the road with Adelaide screaming. Mabelle made a small salute toward Adelaide saying, “Careful on your way, Lady Adelaide!”

When Adelaide was out of sight, Mabelle leapt up into the tree above and stared at the person shaking in pain on a tree branch. This person was a man with short black hair. He had a small crossbow attached to the sleeve of his brown jacket that looked like of that of a pilot that sailed across the ocean. He wore black leather pants with multiple pockets. Small gears hung from his brown jacket like jewels. A brown cap rested on his head covering his eyes with a shadow making it difficult to make out his face, but besides the shadow of the cap, a crimson red scarf covered his neck and chin. On his feet, he wore brown worn out boots that were usually seen on railroad workers. He seemed to be the very image of a man of the industrial age, if it weren’t for the weapon on his sleeve.

Mabelle knelt before him taking notice of the small arrow in his arm. She examined the arrow, noticing the purple liquid on the surface.

“Poison arrow, quite a weak method of murder, but effective,” stated Mabelle and then looked the man in his dark brown eyes, “You will die soon if you don’t take an antidote or were you a fool and never made one?”

“You…”

The man struggled to speak, but he could barely get a word out without sweating. Mabelle could tell that the man was close to dying, but she forced him to continue to look at her.

“Tell me: who ordered you to kill Lady Adelaide Clementine?”

“…”

The life in the man’s eyes was beginning to fade as he looked at Mabelle, but Mabelle suddenly removed the arrow, while also pulling out her dagger from the hilt around her leg. She flicked the top part of the handle of her dagger open revealing a white power and spread it on the wound before placing some of it on the tongue of the man. Almost instantly, the life in the man’s eyes returned.

“What did you…eh?”

Mabelle immediately stabbed the dagger near his head making him fall silent.

“I saved your life using my own antidote, so answer my question: who ordered you to kill Lady Adelaide Clementine?”

“…I never asked for the name of my employer, but I know he has a cross mark on his tongue.”

“…I see,” stated Mabelle and then removed her dagger from the tree and then placed it back in the sheath on her leg, “I would suggest you do not aim for her life if you don’t want to meet me again.”

The man suddenly smirked asking, “What if I do want to meet you?”

Mabelle smirked and stated, “Then prepare for a fight.” With those words, Mabelle jumped down from the tree and began to run down the path toward the market once again.

The man watched Mabelle run off and then looked in the direction Adelaide was forced to ride off too. He could go after the mistress of the Clementine Estate without the interference of Mabelle, but then his eyes wandered back in the direction Mabelle headed to. A smile formed on his lips as he thought of ways to meet up with Mabelle again.

Mabelle didn’t know of the thoughts of the male assassin, but with his appearance she now knew that her assassin days weren’t that far behind her, but she hoped that she would not need to kill again.

This is my life…the past does not rule me.

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