As Claude approached the bench where Canillian had been sitting, his jaw tensed when he noticed that he was no longer there.
His eyes darted around, looking for her.
He saw the men dressed in dark clothing carrying his finally dressed body away.
A deep growl resonated in his chest.
He had thought that they would have kidnapped him inside the Louvre, not in the middle of the street with witnesses around to see them carrying off a body.
Ivan led a horse to Claude’s side, saying, “The police believe that there is a secret passage that leads into the Louvre.”
Taking the reins from Ivan’s hand, Claude mounted the horse without responding to the man’s comment.
His white-knuckled hands clenched the reins, his eyes furious.
However, when he spoke, his voice was void of emotion, “We’ll just have to follow them then.”
“It’s too dangerous to go by yourself.
It would be better to wait until the police arrive…”
Before Ivan could finish his sentence, Claude kicked the horse into a gallop.
“Your grace!” Ivan shouted as Claude turned a corner, his voice dissolving in the air.
Claude didn’t know how long ago Canillian had been taken, but it was long enough for the men to have disappeared without a trace.
Soon another horse, with an ash-coloured main, darted out of a peaceful side street and rode up beside him.
Claude turned to the man and yelled, “Stay out of this!
“I saw Canillian get kidnapped right in front of my eyes, and you want me to do nothing” Ian demanded.
“It’s all a part of the plan.
This is the Kayan Empire’s business, not yours!” he responded.
“It looks to me like it’s Canillian’s business.”
The two men’s shouting and the sound of the horse’s hooves on the cobblestone created an enormous racket.
“Who is Canillian to you” Claude asked Ian.
“The person I will spend the rest of my life with.”
Claude felt a spike of flaming anger at those words.
He imagined killing the prince in increasingly gruesome ways.
Suddenly reining his horse in, Claude stopped in front of a bakery.
Two children were devouring bread on the sidewalk.
As the massive horses came to a stop in front of them, the children clambered away from the huge, stomping beasts.
Spotting the little girl holding the clutch that Canillian had earlier, he told Ian to flank the children with their horses.
They cowered between the men and their beasts.
“Where is the woman that had that clutch” Claude demanded.
Terrified, the girl began to cry, great heaving sobs racking her thin frame.
But he had no mercy, demanding once again for the girl to tell him where she went.
Meanwhile, Ian had dismounted and approached the children.
A terrifyingly cold expression adorned his face.
Pulling his sword from its scabbard, he touched it to the girl’s neck.
“Tell me… Where she went…”
The girl gave a small, high-pitched scream and froze.
“Damn you Ian, put the sword away,” Claude said, quickly dismounting and pushing the other man’s arm away from the child.
“They are only children.”
“The more innocent you are, the crueller you can be,” Ian said in a bitter voice, as he sheathed his sword.
The girl pointed a trembling finger, “They took her that way.”
Claude stretched a hand out, and the girl, her eyes red-rimmed from crying, placed the clutch in it.
“She told me to give this to a handsome man with kind blue eyes,” the girl said with a small smile on her lips.
He opened the bag and peered inside.
There were a few items from Marilyn and some small pieces of bread.
Bread, that was a strange thing to keep inside a clutch.
He saw a shiny object glinting on each piece of bread, and his face changed.
As he looked up, the sun set, and a blanket of darkness fell over the city.
In the darkness, silver glinted on the walls down the corridor where Canillian had been taken.
A smile flittered across his face as he mounted his horse.
“Canillian won’t be going with you to Geor,” Claude said in a quiet voice.
“You’re not his guardian,” Ian responded.
“Maybe not, but he is mine.”