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Serena and the Knights of St. John (Part 6)

Grand Harbour, Malta, early March 1565

As soon as the galley had anchored, the Knight Captain sent a message to the Grandmaster that important news was on the way. Later, when they went to the palace, many onlookers welcomed the knights home.
Soon, questions were flying from head to head. Who was that girl walking with the men? How did she come here? Was she a gift for the Grandmaster, a princess, a Messenger?
Serena had to wait with the others in front of the Grandmaster's Palace. Only the Knight Captain entered. She was glad that Jerome was by her side. The locals eyed her with curiosity.
She caught a few rumours about her that were already making the rounds. Serena would have had to laugh had she not felt so self-conscious.

Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette, like Jerome from the Provence, was a wise and valiant leader. He had a network of spies in the Ottoman camp that reached even the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.

The news of an escaped message, however important, didn't disturb him much. That was what the Knight Captain was able to report to his men on leaving the palace.

Suddenly, a man and a lady in expensive clothes came towards the Knight Captain. The crowd made room respectfully.

"Was your trip successful?" the man asked.

The Knight Captain bowed slightly. "Greetings, Count Manducas. We can't complain."

"Who's that girl you've brought with you?"
(To be continued)