From the darkness above, Jean-Paul heard a quiet whisper in lightly-accented French, "What do you want?" The question was short and to the point, as if the voice had somewhere to go and better things to do.
Attempting to mollify this stranger hidden among the scorched rafters, Jean-Paul replied, "I am injured and in need of a skilled doctor. If you could help me to one, I could pay you for your trouble. I have no wish to wander in this foul weather, seeking help at this late hour."
"Now, why should I help someone I don't know? That would indeed be something close to a fool," she stated simply. “If you blindfold yourself and do not look upon my face, I will take a look at your leg myself: If I am able to heal it, I shall do so. If not… then you’re on your own." It was the best she could offer him right then. There were too many people after her: Not only for her skill, but for other things as well.
The strange woman’s bizarre demands were really starting to irritate Jean-Paul. “Blindfold myself, indeed! The people in this town are all crazy!” he thought. “Why should I not see your face? I am newly come from France and know few people in this quagmire they call a city."
Suspicious thoughts ran through her mind. “Just what does he think I am? A fool? For all I know, he could be one of the many people after me. There’s no way I am going to let someone get to me that easily!”
Taking her fingers from the hilt of the dagger upon her leg, she called out to the waterlogged stranger below, “Then, I guess that you wish to have no help at all. This is all I will offer you: Take it, or I shall take my leave." She was not angry, but neither was there any kindness in her voice. Long ago, she had learned to conceal her feelings; it was one of the first things she’d learned when she took up her “trade”.
“What you do is no affair of mine! If you do not object too greatly, I shall wait below until this storm has abated slightly, then I shall seek a surgeon who lacks your idiosyncrasies!"
Just who was this man? And… who in the world would say “idiosyncrasies”? The clouds had parted; in the dim moonlight, she was able to make out some details of the battered old man before her. Despite his clumsy attempts to bandage it, the man’s leg was still bleeding: The blood that she had smelled was his. Leaping onto the ground, she landed with cat-like agility. Slowly she rose, as if she did not wish to frighten him. “Well, when you put it that way."
The woman that had appeared before him struck an almost piratical appearance to the baffled aristocrat. Clad in what appeared to be a coat and boots, she wore only her shift, corset and short petticoats. He could make out at least two knives and suspected that more were hidden among her outlandish attire.
As the woman approached, Jean-Paul was taken aback by her odd costume. Aghast, he blurted out, “YOU are a barber-surgeon?"
She smiled in a rather unnerving manner, as she enigmatically replied, "It is but one of many trades, of which I will not speak.”