I apologize for the brevity of today’s part.
The Rogue, the Investigation, and Viscountess
After lunch, Andrew excused himself from the Princess’ company and left the castle, wanting to get a feel for the city. His forest green cloak attracted little attention in the big city, lost amongst the bright colors of the nobility and the drab tunics of the peasants. He was able to move almost completely unnoticed.
It was nearly sunset when Andrew started to head back to the castle, taking a shortcut through some back alleys. In one of the worse parts of the city, he felt a hand, remarkably stealthy for a city dweller, trying to remove his belt pouch. He spun, grabbing the offending hand and drawing his sword, pressing it to the man’s throat.
The man froze, his face a mask of surprise and fear for his life. Then a look of even greater surprise came over him, coupled with disbelief. “Andrew?”
Andrew scrutinized the man, then laughed and released him. “Michael.”
“Andrew! It is you!” Michael laughed and embraced him. “I thought you were gone for good.”
“That was the plan,” Andrew said, returning his old friend’s embrace. “But you know what they say about the best-laid plans.”
“Don’t say anything more, let me guess.” Michael scrutinized Andrew’s face closely. “It involves a woman.”
Andrew chuckled. “Indeed it does.”
“Well, today’s just full of surprises,” Michael said, laughing. “Not only do you come back to the city, but you fall in love in the process.”
“Wrong order,” Andrew said wryly. “I’m back because I fell in love.”
Michael laughed, but stopped, thinking of something. “Does this have anything to do with the Princess Marie?” Andrew’s face told him everything he needed to know. He let out a low whistle. “So you’re the mysterious stranger that came in with the princess.” He chuckled. “Well, Andrew, you surely do things in a big way. You adamantly claim you’ll never come back and never fall in love. Then, not only do you come back, but you stay in the castle, and not only do you fall in love, but you fall in love with a princess.”
Andrew suddenly had a thought. “Enough about me, Michael. Let’s talk about you. I wonder if you could tail someone for me…”