After his horrifying encounter with Milady, d'Artagnan flees to Athos's home, and tells him everything. With the evidence of the Fleur-de-Lis, both men think it likely that Milady is Athos's branded wife.
D'Artagnan gathers his three friends together, and returns home to find Kitty waiting for him. She is now horrified of Milady, and reminds d'Artagnan that he promised to protect her. Aramis agrees to see if his mysterious mistress can find a place for her. Before she leaves, Kitty tells d'Artagnan that she recognizes Monsieur Bonacieux as a frequent visitor to Milady's house, confirming Milady's involvement in Madame Bonacieux's kidnapping.
D'Artagnan and Athos pawn Milady's ring, buying equipment with the money. When d'Artagnan returns home, he finds two letters waiting for him. One is from Madame Bonacieux, asking him to meet her at a deserted bridge in Paris that evening. The other is from the Cardinal's staff, demanding d'Artagnan's presence before the Cardinal that night. D'Artagnan is determined to make both meetings, and the Musketeers insist on coming along to protect him.
D'Artagnan waits at the appointed spot on the bridge to meet Madame Bonacieux, who suddenly races by in a carriage, blowing him a kiss as she passes. D'Artagnan can't figure out whether this means she is safe or still the Cardinal's prisoner. Perplexed by the mystery, he and his friends move on to meet the Cardinal.
D'Artagnan's audience with the Cardinal is similarly baffling. The Cardinal indicates that he is aware of d'Artagnan's intrigues, but seems to be favorably inclined toward d'Artagnan nonetheless. He offers d'Artagnan an Officer's post in his guards. Shocked, d'Artagnan courteously declines the offer. The Cardinal warns d'Artagnan that by refusing his offer, he leaves himself vulnerable to attacks from which only the Cardinal can protect him. D'Artagnan insists on his decision, and the men part on tense but respectful terms.
The next day, d'Artagnan's company of guards leaves Paris for battle. The musketeers are not set to leave for a few days, so d'Artagnan is forced to be separate from his friends.
In accordance to that fact that Athos is always melancholy, we actually do know the source. During the book, while Athos and d'Artagnan get drunk, we discover Athos had an ex-wife, which turns out to be Milady. Later, we find that Athos did not know that Milady was a criminal when he fell in love with her. When he learns of her past, he believes that he hangs her.
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