La Rochelle has a complicated religious and political history that has often led to civic unrest. The citizens of La Rochelle are Huguenots and during the war between England and France, they found themselves allied with the English. Currently, La Rochelle has risen up to fight the French and so it is the musketeers’ job to end their revolt.
Meanwhile, because he is not a musketeer, d’Artagnan is separated from his friends. One day, not long into the campaign, d’Artagnan is walking near his camp when he spots two guns pointed directly at him. As soon as he sees the guns, he drops to the ground. Moments later, bullets fly and barely miss him. Because he is nimble, d’Artagnan manages to run back to camp without being hit. D’Artagnan wonders why the men tried to kill him. He knows that they cannot be enemy soldiers, so he assumes they were probably sent by Milady.
Milady’s assassins strike fast, although d’Artagnan is immediately on to them. D’Artagnan’s biggest problem is that his friends are no longer around so he doesn’t know who to trust. Anyone could be one of Milady’s assassins and they could come after him at any time. His situation illustrates how crucial loyal friends are to his wellbeing.
The following day, d’Artagnan offers to go on a dangerous recon mission. He takes four other volunteers with him. D’Artagnan’s job is to take the men and scope out a nearby bastion. Halfway there, d’Artagnan notices that two of his men are missing. He wonders what happened to them. Eventually, he reaches the bastion where he sees enemy soldiers. Suddenly, bullets start flying and they hit one of d’Artagnan’s men. Almost immediately, d’Artagnan realizes that the bullets are not coming from enemy soldiers. Instead, they are coming from the two men who went missing earlier in their journey.
Again, it seems that Milady’s men are after d’Artagnan. Unfortunately, d’Artagnan gave them the perfect opportunity to come after him while he was virtually alone. While this is somewhat careless of d’Artagnan, showing how important his friends’ support is, it also showcases his bravery.
To trick his attackers, d’Artagnan pretends to get hit by a bullet and he falls to the ground. In response, the men let their guard down and approach d’Artagnan. When they get close enough, d’Artagnan attacks them. One of the men runs directly into enemy fire and d’Artagnan quickly gets the other one on the ground. D'Artagnan asks the cornered man why he wants to kill him. As d’Artagnan suspected, the man was sent to kill him on Milady’s behalf.
As usual, d’Artagnan outsmarts his opponents and eventually proves victorious over them. His dedication to fighting honorably ultimately saves him, even though he’s at a disadvantage without his friends.
The assassin also tells d’Artagnan that his companion possesses a letter that states Milady’s intent. D’Artagnan carefully gets the letter from the corpse and keeps it as evidence. He also decides to spare the life of the other man and together the two head back to camp. When d’Artagnan gets back to camp he feels like he can rest easy for a moment. However, he only does so because he doesn’t realize what Milady is capable of.
D’Artagnan was right to suspect Milady and now he has proof that he can use against her. Additionally, he proves himself to be a merciful person; rather than kill his would-be assassin, d’Artagnan saves him. Despite his moral shortcomings in previous chapters, d’Artagnan’s actions in this scene demonstrate that he is not as malicious and vindictive as Milady.