On Monday morning, young Marshall rose with the dawn, eager to start his first day of work, and if course, it didn't hurt knowing that he would likely see Claire again. He dressed quickly, so that he might actually have a chance to repair the leaky roof for Monsieur Dubois, and still make it to the stables on time. What kind of impression would it leave upon Monsieur Mercier, if Marshall was late for his first day on the job. If that were the case, Marshall grimaced in his thought, he likely wouldn't be welcomed back for a second day, and Marshall needed a job desperately. The young man patched up the roof the best he could given his current time limit, and left the job only half satisfied. It was fine for now, but Marshall would have to come back to it before the end of the week. Marshall sighed setting down his hammer, Jacques Mercier's stables laid in the heart of the village, and was a decent trek from the Dubois residence. He would need to leave sooner, rather than later. Marshall quickly snatched up a few slices of bread to eat as breakfast along the way, and quietly exited the house.
Marshall still had an adequate amount of time to get to work, so he strolled casually down the dusty path leading to the market place. He occupied his time, thinking up things to say to Claire when he saw her. Marshall liked Claire, and he didn't want to come off as idiotic as he had the day they met in the market. Well, at least Marshall felt like he had redeemed himself, the previous afternoon, when Claire had invited him over to lunch, but still, he couldn't be sure. He ran his fingers through his sandy hair, sighing again; Marshall wanted Claire to like him too. Suddenly, Marshall was startled out of his musings, by three loud shots ringing through the still, morning air. There was no doubt about it. Marshall had heard the firing of a musket. The young man turned his head in the direction of the gunshots, and was just in time to see three geese fall from the sky. The poor animals were dead long before they ever hit the ground. It struck Marshall as odd, that anyone would be hunting for supper so early in the morning, but he couldn't judge. Everyone had their own preferences, he shrugged, before continuing his journey to the stables. However, Marshall soon froze again, in thought. A man must have a very large family to feed, having killed three geese at a single time. Marshall narrowed his eyes scanning the surrounding area for the hunter, and then the stable hand spotted him. The hunter was rather young, likely no older than he himself was, but he was huge, with rippling biceps, and walked with a haughty saunter. Something about that man's walk annoyed Marshall greatly, although he wasn't exactly sure why. Marshall waited for the hunter to draw nearer, and collect his kill, but it never happened. The stable hand was floored, and absolutely horrified, when he realized that the man was headed in the opposite direction. But what about the geese? Had he honesty killed the wretched animals for sport?
Marshall was a patient, and rational young man, and he always tried his best to stay out of other people's business, knowing that he was in no position to judge his fellow man, but right now, his blood was beginning to boil. Those animals were living once, and Marshall understood that people needed to eat, but the geese had not given up their lives for food. They were simply killed for fun... for sport. Further, Marshall knew that certain families were literally staving to death from a lack of food, and here this gluttonous man had simply left perfectly good food to rot away, without the slightest trace of remorse. Now, that made Marshall angry.
"Hey, you!" Marshall hollered, balling up both fists tightly.
The stable boy scowled, completely unamused, as the so called hunter, looked to his left and right, as if he didn't know who Marshall was addressing so angrily. When Marshall finally caught the hunter's eye, he stared the man down as menacingly as he could. The man's blue eyes glinted with mischief, as he slung his musket over his shoulder, and stalked over to where Marshall was standing, snickering along the way.
"Quoi?" demanded the hunter rudely, crossing his arms in front of him, "Je suis un homme très occupé."
"What do you think you are doing?" Marshall snapped at the hunter.
"Pardon?" the hunter let out an annoyingly innocent gasp, that made Marshall quake with anger.
Marshall rolled his sea green eyes, "Parlez-vous anglais?"
He had learned that phrase from Ami the previous evening. If Marshall weren't so agitated at the moment, he might have been proud of himself.
"Oui," the hunter snickered in an amazingly deep voice, "it is a simple language... French is for the intelligent."
"You killed those geese," Marshall growled, his fists still clenched, and his anger heightened at the insult the stranger had just directed at him.
"I know," the hunter replied cockily, with an ugly smirk, "three perfect shots, non?"
Marshall didn't like this man already, which was unusual for the stable boy, seeing as he typically got along with most anybody. Something about this hunter, however, irritated Marshall to no end. The haughty way he spoke... his overly masculine walk... it was almost as if the hunter was trying to show off, at all times.
"Who are you?" Marshall demanded with a question of his own.
At this, the hunter let out a hearty laugh, "Mon Dieu," he rasped, slapping his large knee, "a foreigner rears his ugly head, and demands to know the name of Emile Legrand! That... that is priceless!"
"Emile Legrand," Marshall repeated, although the name left an unspeakably bad taste in his mouth.
"Oui," Emile scowled at him, "and who, might I ask, are you?"
"Marshall Stoddard," funny, the stable boy had not unclenched his fists at all during the encounter.
"Enchanté," Emile greeted in unmistakable sarcasm, "listen, boy," the hunter prodded Marshall's chest with his thick index finger, "you had best learn your place. Le Mans is my village. You are lucky I give you the privilege to stay here."
Only Marshall was not frightened by this hulking buffoon, actually he really quite annoyed at being called a 'boy', by someone no older than himself. If Marshall had had the time, he certainly would have stayed to argue with massive oaf, but unfortunately, he had wasted several precious minutes, and needed to find his way to the stables immediately. With an aggressive snort, Marshall turned to leave the scene, but the likes of Emile Legrand called after him.
"Why are you running from me?" the hunter goaded, "Êtes-vous un peu effrayé de poulet?
Marshall had no clue as to what Emile had just taunted him with, but by the tone of the hunter's voice, he knew that it couldn't be pleasant... most likely another insult. This guy was really getting annoying. Marshall didn't bother to respond to Emile, but continued on his way to work, shaking his head in irritation. This Emile Legrand had better watch his back, because next time, Marshall would not let him off so easily.
Quick French Lesson
Quoi? = What?
Je suis un homme très occupé = I am a busy man
Parlez-vous anglais? = Do you speak English?
Mon Dieu = My God
Enchanté = Enchanted/ nice to meet you
Êtes-vous un peu effrayé de poulet? = are you a scared, little chicken?