I apologies for the shortness of this chapter and my long delay.
Thank you all for your ongoing support and kind words!
"He is in no state to travel and certainly not to face a trial!" Porthos raged, the fury lacing his voice with poison. It took all his strength to keep his angry rants as quiet as possible, to not to wake their brother who slept inside the tent, while they stood in front of it.
D'Artagnan had just arrived, not even bothered to change from his wet clothes into fresh ones as he had ran towards the tent he knew his brothers would wait for him. He had waisted no time explaining the matter. But even though he has had several days to come to terms with the situation, not even he was able to hold back his anger.
Aramis was supposed to face trial for a crime he had not committed. After years of giving up his own life, living as someone he was not and spying for his fatherland, after all this time he should now end in prison… or worse on the noose? And why? Because the man who could decide over life and death was a stubborn, infantile, jealous, selfish man. It may was treason to think like this about his king, but d'Artagnan really couldn't care at all. Wasn't it also treason that a honorable and loyal musketeer should face trial out of revenge?
This was not right.
Aramis had risked everything to save the country and the ones he loved, and now – after he had succeeded – he was supposed to lose everything nevertheless?
"We will not let them go through with it, will we?" The Gascon asked, his eyes shining with the fear for his brother.
Athos scrunched his face and sighed. "We will do everything we can to save him." But I am not sure if we're able to save him this time.
He kept the words of uncertainty to himself, nevertheless the others seemed to have heard them.
Porthos, stepping closer to both of them and laying one of his bulky hands on each's shoulder, squeezed them gently. "We will make it. We always did." He reassured as he blended out all his own worries and fears. This time, their enemy was far greater than ever before.
They could not just kill the King. They would need a lot of luck this time.
The sound of a low moan brought them back to the present. Someone had to tell Aramis.
The three musketeers exchanged short glances, each one more unwillingly than the other.
Together they strode back into the tent just to find Aramis sitting upright, face drawn in pain while his left arm was wrapped protectively around his torso.
"You idiot, you should lie down." Porthos muttered, not able to keep his mother-hen instincts in check as he hurried over and tried to ease Aramis back down. However, the marksman had different plans and slapped his helping hands away. With eyes full of regret and pain he then faced his brothers.
"I've heard you. The King wants me to face trial?"
Silence followed as no one dared to answer, until Athos finally had mercy with the injured man. Aramis had to know what would happen. He sits down beside his brother, their shoulders brushing against each other. Athos isn't quite sure if he does it for Aramis' or his own comfort, or just to not have to look him in the eyes.
"He lied. Denying that he had ever sent you on the mission. They want to bring you to justice for high-treason." Athos tongue suddenly felt way too heavy as he waited for Aramis' reaction. The marksman fell silent, comprehending the words before he fisted his hands into the bedsheets beneath him.
"He's the King. Whatever he says will be counted as the truth. My words – the real truth – will be worth nothing." He whispered, eyes fixed on the ground.
Everything he had done, he had done for nothing.
In the end he would die on the wheel nevertheless and the King would be finally rid of him.