Yasha was expecting a refined lady. Beauregard's father certainly seemed like a dignified man, of good repute. It was a wonder Yasha had been hired at all, come to think of it. She liked to think it was because she looked strong, without the problem of being a man who could seduce his daughter.
But upon meeting Beauregard for the first time Yasha was struck by how wild she looked.
Her hair, instead of being in one of those elegant up-dos that Yasha often saw on the well-to-dos, was half-shaved, and it looked like someone had made a rough go of it. Like they'd done it in secret, in the dark perhaps. Her dress was in horrible disarray, sleeves rolled up, the whole fabric wrinkled, an indeterminate stain on the bodice. Yasha also spied bitten fingernails, and a nasty scratch on the back of her hand.
Her eyes were a piercing blue, and Yasha felt skewered on her gaze. Her charge smirked.
"Well, at least you're more attractive than the last one."
Yasha, taken aback, said nothing. Beauregard turned, looking over her shoulder at Yasha.
"Come on then. I want to go to the market. Wouldn't want to step outside manor walls without my shadow."
Yasha, dutifully, followed. "Yes, my lady."
Beauregard grimaced, as Yasha fell in line. "Don't call me that. Beau is fine. Everyone calls me Beau."
"If that's what you'd like," Yasha replied, opening the heavy gates and gesturing Beau through.
"All that 'my lady' shit just makes me feel like some frou-frou doll."
They walked in relative silence to the marketplace. Yasha did not say much out of habit, Beau only tossed out the odd remark about her neighbors or how fine the day was. She seemed well at ease, not at all feared for her safety, and Yasha had to wonder why she'd been hired. The girl seemed like she could look out for herself well enough, and this part of the countryside was fairly calm, quiet, and relatively bandit-free. The Sleepy South, it was called, and Yasha could see why. She'd had trouble looking for other work, and the role of bodyguard for a noble's daughter struck her as something she could do with ease. What did she have to guard the girl against anyways?
As they approached the marketplace it began to grow more and more crowded. Merchants called out their wares and people thronged to buy them, mothers with children, servants, peasants, beggars. Yasha stepped in front of Beau to avoid a cart trying to push its way through, and stepped around a large mud puddle immediately after. She turned to help her lady, so as not to (further) soil her dress, but where Beau should have been there was no one.
Frantically, Yasha scanned the crowds, looking for the light blue dress of her charge. Finally she saw the edge of it, disappearing around a corner down a dark alley. Yasha made her way through the crowd, noting that thankfully most people cleared a path for her so as not to be trampled by the large panicking woman.
Yasha kept her hand on her sword as she went down the alley, eyes sharp for miscreants as well as her lady. Her mismatched eyes adjusted to the dim light; a pile of rags resolved itself into a beggar, hat in hands. No Beau. Yasha hurried down the alley to find it branched off into another side street, this one far more narrow. There were voices coming from down near the end. Yasha sidled forward cautiously.
"Look, all I know is that I wouldn't spout rubbish like that if you didn't want a fat lip to match that shiner I gave you last week."
"I'm just speakin' true! Everyone knows your father wouldn't--"
"You leave my damn father out of this!" That was definitely Beau, and Yasha heard the smack of flesh on flesh just in time to see her charge punch a young man square in the face. A young man she had grabbed by the collar, who was easily twice her size.
In a split second Yasha was between them, though she had a feeling it was more for the young man's safety than Beau's.
"Who're you?" squalled the young man, cradling his jaw.
"Her guard. Go about your business." The young man scurried off, thankfully not pressing the issue. He seemed glad to be off.
Beau was frowning when Yasha redirected her gaze. "You shouldn't have scared him off. He owed me money."
"Money for what?"
"He lost a bet against me last week at the cockfighting ring. I've been looking for him so I could collect what he owed me."
"What on earth were you doing at a cockfighting ring?"
"Making bank," Beau smirked up at Yasha, and Yasha felt an uneasy pit settle in her gut. The reason she'd been hired, she surmised, wasn't to guard this girl, it was to keep her from running off to beat up more people twice her size and to stop her from gambling away her allowance in the rougher parts of town.
"We're going back," Yasha stated, grabbing Beau firmly by the upper arm, not allowing any room for protest.
"You're not going to tell my dad, are you? You seem cool. Like you wouldn't rat me out."
"I'm not going to tell your father, although I definitely should. I don't want to look like an idiot on my first day." She began dragging Beau back the way she came.
"I'm not done with the market yet!" protested Beau as they walked, or rather, marched back to the main road.
"Oh? More victims to beat up?" quipped Yasha dryly.
"I really did want to buy something!" Beau whined, twisting in Yasha's grip.
"Sorry, you lost privileges when I heard about the cockfighting ring."
All Beau had to say in response was a deep sigh. Yasha felt like doing the same. And here she'd been think she could take it easy.
When Beau was safely ensconced back in her quarters, Yasha began asking around, about the old bodyguard and about her charge. The responses she got back from the staff in the manor were fairly similar, and Yasha found her suspicions to be entirely true. Beau was a wild child who had far too much energy for her own good and snuck off every chance she got. Though twenty years of age, she was still unmarried, and likely to stay that way for a while. She hated everything about being a lady, and preferred getting into street fights. Beau's last guard had been fired for letting Beau sneak off to, as Yasha suspected, watch a cockfight, and the guard before that had been fired for letting Beau get herself involved in a tavern brawl. How Beau's father kept the family name out of the papers was a mystery, though Beau was certainly shunned from several local households and social circles, and the last time she'd been invited to a ball was when she was eleven and quite yet the firecracker she grew to be. Even then, she'd been a tomboy, forever stealing and wearing breeches from the servant boys to go run around in.
So, Yasha reflected, her real task wasn't to keep trouble away from Beau, it was to keep Beau from finding trouble, which the lady seemed to search for like it was her job. Yasha now knew the stunt Beau had pulled today was child's play compared to what she could get up to, and if she wanted to stay here longer than a week it would take a close eye, a stern hand, and maybe a little lying.
Lying to her employer over a girl who was spoiling for a good fight. What could go wrong?