Chapter 9

Oh, and this is joyous news...Isn't it?

Before the banns for Millie's upcoming wedding to the odious Baron Uppingham were announced, it felt to her as if the whole country knew of her 'joy', in spite of her pleas to her ecstatic mother to keep i quiet, for the sake of decorum, at least outwardly. Inwardly, every time she thought of what her weakness had committed her too, and the damage that commitment might do to the unsuspecting community.

Other strains also plagued her, the constant rounds of visitors, day and night, arriving to congratulate her on her impending marriage, some of which she was never aware of seeing before, so she was sure they had come to look upon the woman who was to marry the old Baron. Her mothers scattergun approach to accepting people into the house left the family wide open to attack, and Millie a large distance from any weapons or method of disguising her identity.

It disgusted Millie and Miss Fernwood "Young Miss Phillips died at his house, and we are no closer to finding the creatures that did this. As far as they are aware there is a murderer in this community, perhaps in this very house, and the second a wedding is announced they push it from their tiny minds!" Millie fumed, and on this occasion Miss Fernwood had no kind, sensible words to offer in balance to her charges fury.

Her fathers next big announcement pushed her almost too close to the edge. The boys were too old for a governess, and upon Millie's leaving to become Lady Uppingham, Miss Fernwood would be leaving them, and the boys would be sent to a prestigious Shropshire boarding school, which sounded to Millie more like a penitentiary on the new son-in-law's money. It turned Millie's stomach that she had folded under her fathers pressure, and now her brothers and her watcher were being ejected from her home on her father's orders.

Miss Fernwood was as always pragmatic about the whole thing "You must point out to your husband that you will need a ladies companion to provide you with feminine stimulation, that you feel he would not be able to provide you with." She suggested in a light tone.

"I do not wish to think on what life will be in that house for me as the Slayer, or as a woman." Millie replied tensely.

However, in the interest of keeping them together she posed the question to her husband, who in turn posed it to his benefactors, who of course turned it down flat. Miss Fernwood was set to leave within the month.

Millie was close to inconsolable, the loss of her own liberty she could cope with, as the reality of her situation had always been closely guarded, by her Watcher, who had become a confidante and friend, an expert in lacing corsets at speed, providing alibis and talking sense when no one else about her seemed to manage it.

"What am I to do without you?" Millie asked miserably when it seemed that all was set to part them.

"Do as I taught you my child, be a faultless meek little woman by day, and a furious fighter, who has an outlet for her frustrations at night time. You are a resourceful, bright, strong young woman, just as I have raised you to be, and though I do not intend to leave this village, I have no doubt you will be fine."

Millie looked at her, grateful for her old friend's strength, but as a terrible thought crossed her mind, the expression in her eyes gained a hint of steel.

"If he discovers me, and thinks me mad...If I am committed to an asylum the world stands unguarded...You will..."

"Do what has to be done, my child." Miss Fernwood confirmed sadly."Now is there anything I can do for you Millie?"

Millicent smiled slyly at her Watcher before replying.

"Tell my dear mother I am unwell and can receive no more callers tonight, then inform her not to worry herself, she may still go visiting as you will sit with me...I feel I need to find an outlet for my frustrations, and I have barely been out for a week." She said reaching for a bag of old clothes, hidden in a box, beneath her bed.

Miss Fernwood nodded approvingly before leaving the room to set the subterfuge in motion, even a Millie changed and headed out of the window.

'Woe betide anything that gets in her way tonight.' Miss Fernwood thought as she made her way down the winding stairs