Chapter 9: Inner Strength and Le Pieu's cruelty
Le Pieu smirked as he reclined in his chair at the head of his table. Since he had made that bargain with Rodmilla, life had steadily getting better. He now had the girl that had been the star of his perverse fantasies since he had first seen her as a young girl in the marketplace. He had so many ideas and options to break her. A slight knock on the door gave him pause.
"Enter!" he said. The door swung open to admit Danielle, looking very bedraggled and dirty. He bought his goblet to his lips. 'Oh yes,' he thought, 'life was indeed very good.'
"Oh, I do so hate to see you in irons," Le Pieu said. "I'd remove them, if only you'd promise not to run away again."
Danielle trudged wearily into the room, carrying a heavy load of swords. It was so hard to walk with her legs bound in chains. Last week she had tried to sneak out of the chateau, but had been caught by Le Pieu's man. He was an unwashed brute of a man named Rouveau, who had no problem roughing up a woman if she dared do or say something out of a woman's place. Danielle still shuddered from the beating she had received from both men.
Danielle sighed. She had only been here a fortnight, but it felt like she'd been here for years. Le Pieu made her do all sorts of chores, if only to keep her exhausted. It didn't help that she had finally come to the conclusion that her brief marriage to Henry was a farce. Why else would he have acted so cruelly the night of the Masque?
"I have no reason to stay," she replied, setting the swords on the table trying to arrange them neatly.
"You belong to me now," he gloated.
Keeping her head low and her gaze on the swords, Danielle said with quiet strength, "I belong to no one, least of all to you."
Le Pieu tried a different approach. "I do wish you'd reconsider my offer." When he had first brought Danielle here, he had told her that if she became his mistress, and let him do whatever he wanted to and with her, he would treat her like a Princess.
Danielle tried to hide her shiver of revulsion. "I would rather rot!"
"I had a horse just like you once-magnificent creature- stubborn, willful to a fault. He too, just needed to be broken." The ill-disguised glee in his voice made Danielle ill with foreboding.
Henry raced to get a troop of men ready to invade the Chateau de Le Pieu. He wanted nothing left to chance. He couldn't bear the thought of his beautiful Danielle in the clutches of Le Pieu. He tried very hard to stay positive and hope that Danielle was unharmed. He hoped that the rumors that abounded from court were wrong. Otherwise, to know that she was in the hands of the worst sort of a cruel sadist left Henry cold with disgust. How could the Masque have gone so wrong? He was just acting, but Danielle must have taken him seriously to have run away like that. He would have some serious groveling to do once he freed her from Le Pieu's grasp.
Finally all preparations were in place. He strapped on his every day sword, leaving the ornamental one he had worn for the wedding behind. Mounting his horse, he addressed his men.
"Let me make this very clear! This is a rescue mission. We're going to try to make this as bloodless as possible, but if Le Pieu's men act violently towards us, I authorize you to use lethal force in return. Danielle is the number one priority to grab her and get her out safely! MOVE OUT!"
With that the group of men galloped out the castle's courtyard and pounded their way to the Chateau de Le Pieu.
Danielle turned away from Le Pieu. He picked up a handful of her hair. "You will maintain your distance, sir."
Le Pieu lifted her hair to his face to smell her unique feminine scent. "You didn't say please." Danielle reached behind her and managed to get ahold of Le Pieu's dagger. She spun back around and put the dagger under Le Pieu's chin.
"Please." She stared into his eyes, hoping to impress upon him that she was quite serious.
Le Pieu was furious. The girl had gotten the slip on him! "I could hang you for this!"
Danielle replied as though she were made of stone. "Not if you are dead."
Perversely, Le Pieu was aroused by her fighting spirit and refusal to be broken. It was an aphrodisiac to him that this one girl refused to let him have what he wanted. "I do love your spirit!" He pushed her hand with the dagger away from his face and tried to kiss her. Danielle pushed him away and swung the dagger at him. It caught him across his cheek.
Stunned Le Pieu staggered over to a chair and sat. While he was doing that, Danielle grabbed a sword from the table and pointed them both at Le Pieu in a proper dueling stance. She lunged forward slightly, forcing him to lean back in his chair.
"My father was an expert swordsman monsieur, and he taught me well." She concentrated on her foe, determined to get what she wanted. "Now hand me the key to my shackles or I swear on his grave I will slit you from navel to nose." As she said this she moved the sword from his belly button to his nose.
Le Pieu reached into his pocket and showed her the key. "Your freedom, my lady," he said. He moved his hand with the key closer to her. Just as she reached to take it from him, he lashed out, knocking the sword from her hand. Danielle struggled, trying to slash at him with the dagger. He tackled her and also pinned her hand with the dagger to the floor. Blood dripped from the wound on his cheek onto her face.
Le Pieu leered over her. "Now you will see how I will break you. I will make you pay tenfold for ruining my face." He grinned evilly.
Danielle convulsively swallowed. Her hell on earth was about to get a hundred times worse.
Hey it's Loreli here. I finally decided that I've left this story in the back of my mind for too long. For the longest time I didn't have any idea of where I wanted to go with this story. When I was younger I didn't really know how cruel humans can be to one another. I'm not going to get too graphic, but I always thought that Le Pieu was kind of a wimp in the movie, just letting Danielle walk out without a fight. Stay tuned for the rest of the story. I've got a pretty good idea of what will be in the next chapter. There probably won't be more than 2 or 3 chapters before I conclude this baby. I hope you enjoy the rest of the story and thank you to all my reviewers and people who have loyally waited for me to finally finish this.
Loreli F. S.