“Cardinal, there you are,” Francis exclaimed as the caped gentleman stormed into his private chambers. “I had been wondering when you would come and grace me with your grand presence.”
“Your Highness, this is no time for jesting, I am afraid,” Armand said, he sat down opposite the Prince at his desk and stared at him.
“Good gracious, there is quite an air of seriousness to you today Armand, you must bring such urgent news!” he smiled.
“You may say that, my Prince,”
“Well go on then, Cardinal, spit out your secret,”
“Very well, if you do insist your Highness,” he said. “I am afraid we have lost one of the men in your service,”
“Lost?” the Dauphin exclaimed. “Do you mean he was killed?”
“I am afraid not Sir, unfortunately he has run away.”
“Run away, I do not keep my men prisoner in my court Cardinal; they can come and go as they please. Did they leave some kind of message for anyone explaining their sudden departure?” he asked.
“That is the thing,” he said, and then he took a deep breath. “The gentleman in question left a letter for you.”
“For me, most noble gentleman,”
“Why what did the letter say?”
“You can read it for yourself; it might be better that way,”
“Here,” Armand passed an envelope across the table. The Dauphin took the letter and held it in his hands. He opened it; he noticed that the letter had already been opened. The Prince assumed the Cardinal had already had the letter read on his behalf and whatever was inside it was deemed so important that the Prince had to read it himself.
His eyes flicked across the page of the letter. At once he recognised the swirly and looped letters, it was Pierre’s writing. Though there was something odd about the words, the way the words sat on the lines was not quite perfect.
Pierre was the one who wrote the letter. It meant Pierre was the one who ran away. This was before he had even begun reading the letter but already his heart was broken. It read;
I am sorry, but we can no longer be as one. It pains me to say it, but I have met someone else. Though I did enjoy our time together we are not meant to be together. This person I have met, he is kind and we are in love. I beg you forget me, move on with your life, because I have.”
“No,” he said aloud. “No, no,” he kept repeating it over and over again. He thought maybe if he said it enough times there would be nothing wrong. That Pierre would walk through the doors with his usual smiling face and happy façade. Not this, he would never leave. He would never desert the Dauphin like this. The letter continued.
“We could never be together, we are so different. Imagine the future King of France being in love with a servant like me.”
“No,” he said again, looking up at the Cardinal, whose eyes never let the Prince’s face. “Pierre would never say something like this.”
“So you are not denying that you were romantically involved with one another,” he said slowly.
Francis opened his mouth as though he was about to protest what the Cardinal had said but he held up one of his slender fingers to stop the Prince speaking.
“I am not here to judge you, your Highness, I am just interested in keeping you safe, you are my biggest interest Sir, I want what is the best for you,” he admitted.
“Yes,” Francis said after a second of pausing. He put the letter back down on the desk in front of him and left it sat there. “Yes, Pierre and I were,” he paused again summoning the courage to admit his biggest secret to one of his worst enemies. “We were romantically involved with one another, we are in love,”
“You mean you are in love with him, and seemed he was not in love with you,”
“Please, this is so hard for me to sat, especially with you adding such awful statements, please, just leave; I need time to be alone.” Francis demanded pointing to the door.
“I will leave,” he said standing up. “But as long as you know that this is no longer an issue. I will erase all knowledge of this Pierre from your court, no one will know he exists, no one will remember him,”
“How can you get rid of someone so quickly, he lived her most of his life, you cannot just erase him so suddenly without raising suspicion.”
“I will inform the staff that, he has been asked to move away for reasons only known to the high up powers. How does that sound?” he asked.
“Fine, do what you must,”
“In the meantime, to stop all suspicion you must marry the Princess of Sweden, it will make your life rocket back to normal. After all this was just a phase of your life, it is good that it has come to a natural conclusion.”
“Of course,” the Prince agreed, though deep down his heart was slowly crumbling into a thousand tiny pieces, so small it would be impossible to put them back together again.
“Then it is settled, you will go to his Majesty and insist that the wedding will go ahead anyway. You will get married and in a few years’ time you will not even remember the name of him.”