Lucy frowned thoughtfully, her blue-grey eyes scanning the contents of the note another anxious time.† It was his handwriting, that much was true.† And the small flower, etched in red ink was his sign.
Still, it was curious to note that Percy had actually called her by her married name.† Even during her short union to Philippe de Guinterre, Percy had never once called her "Madame".† English society had clucked their disapproval at the dismissal of formality, and yet it had always been that way.† Her friends had always addressed her by her Christian name, a habit she also practiced with them.† Yet, why had he chosen to call her thus at this time?
"This seems odd," she finally announced to her friend.
Eliza's eyes were frustratingly difficult to read-the china cup she was sipping from prevented Lucy from seeing if her friend was frowning, or smiling.† Still, she was sure Eliza had noted the formality of the note just as she had.
"Hmm," her friend agreed finally,"Percy would have no reason to suspect your involvement with the Guild÷and he wouldn't think of having my lord escort you to France on LEAGUE business, after the incident÷"
"Percy doesn't even suspect the existence of the Guild," Lucy agreed quickly. She had allowed Eliza's 'incident' to pass by without comment--she was still far from thrilled that her childhood friend had taken her out of commission with the League,"In fact, if any of them do, they are demmed remarkable at holding up a pretense of ignorance."
A small smile lit across Eliza's lips, as she nodded her agreement.† The men were not such "demmed remarkable actors" that they could hold up their falsehoods before the women who knew them so well.† Perhaps English society continued to believe them to be nothing but worthless fops-however, they knew better.
"Lucy, you do know that you do not have to-"
"Don't be silly, cherie," Lucy reached across the small table, gently taking her friend's hand into her own,"Of course I shall go."
Eliza sighed,"I suppose it would be silly for me to ask you to be careful?"
Lucy was unable to fight the smile that tugged at the ends of her lips.† She gave into it.
"Silly, indeed!"
Timothy Hastings escorted Lucy to a small home, a scant three miles from the square that housed Madame Guillotine.† Unusually warm winds carried with them assorted shouts from the Citizens, as well as the overpowering stench of blood÷
"I do not know for sure if it will be Percy coming for you," he explained,"Whoever it is will knock three times before slipping a note beneath the door with the seal÷"
Lucy smiled, laying her valise onto the dirty floor,"Don't worry, milord.† I recall how it will go."
Timothy smiled sheepishly,"I apologize, Ma-Lucy.† I had almost forgotten."
"It's growing darker," she changed the subject, glancing out the dirt streaked window.
"There is a storm on the horizon-I had best leave now, before the weather prevents the ship from leaving.† Good luck, Lucy."
"Safe trip, milord," she replied, walking with him to the door.
AfterLucy had locked the door behind Timothy, she moved over to the small cot, dropping wearily down onto the straw-filled mattress.† Her travelling gown was dirty and worn, and she looked a fright, but she was too tired from the journey to contemplate bathing.† She would just close her eyes for a short while, she assured herself, and then she would change÷
When Lucy finally awoke, it was to the sounds of three short knocks at the door. Stumbling to her feet, she made her way to the door, just as a slip of paper was pushed beneath the crack.
Meet outside the Conciergerie at nine *~
Nine.† It was almost a quarter of that now, and reaching the prison would take a short bit.† She wouldn't have time to freshen up, so it appeared.† Lucy groaned, tearing the note into tiny pieces.† She slipped a pocketbook of gold coins into her corset, along with the fake papers Hastings had pressed into her hands when they were still aboard the ship.
Lucy hurried down the avenue, finally thankful for the worn, dark traveling gown she hadn't had the time to change out of.† It allowed her to blend in with the dark evening, and the rough men and women still out on the streets.
She reached the conciergerie, her eyes picking out a masculine shape in the pitch-black of evening.† He was so obviously hunched over, disguising true height.† However, no costume could keep Lucy from recognizing her childhood chum.
Slowly, she approached him.
"Here I am," Lucy announced, her voice holding a muted note of teasing,"What is it you wish of me, Oh Noble Leader?"
He turned to face her.† As moonlight lit upon the strange features, Lucy realized the error in judgment she had made÷
÷Even before a fist crashed unceremoniously across her face.
Two Days Later
Temple Prison

"Citizen Roulon."
The pale-haired man raised one eyebrow in utter boredom at the sound of the older man's voice.
"Citizen Chauvelin," his voice was mocking as he nodded politely to the man,"You wished to speak with me?"
"I've been informed that you have a member of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel in the prison.† Have you spoken with him yet?† Taken his name?"
Roulon's thin lips curled in a chilling smile,"It was no man, Citizen.† A young lady, rather.."
Chauvelin's eyes tightened painfully, realization dawning upon him.
† Damn your independent hide, Lucy÷
"I will speak with her.† Immediately."
Roulon spoke,"I think not, Chauvelin.† The woman is my prisoner."
"And I, Citizen Roulon, am your superior.† You will direct me to the woman immediately, or I will call you for your actions.† Do you understand me?"
Roulon glared at him,"I understand you."
Meanwhile, in England
"This only just arrived for you, my lady."
Eliza politely excused herself from the other's, moving aside to read the short missive the valet handed her.
My darling wife,
It appears that I shall be detained in France longer than expected.† The meeting with the Leader was a deceit, and L has been taken under the custody of the Republic.† Shall return as soon as possible.† Pray for us, love.
All My Love,
One hand unconsciously crumbled the vellum paper, as Eliza groaned.† If there were only something SHE could possibly do to assist them÷
The chatter of the Guild members grabbed at her attention, and Eliza dropped the note into the fireplace.† There was nothing for her to do, save that which her husband had asked of her--pray.
Chauvelin waited impatiently until Roulon had instructed the guards to unlock the door to the small prison cell.† The glow from the candle upon a small, scarred table barely lit the room.† Still, in the darkness, he could see her slim form.† She was curled upon the straw, not asleep, yet not fully alert.
"Leave us, Roulon."
With muttered curses, Roulon backed away, shutting the door behind him with a loud clanging noise.
"Lucy?" Chauvelin questioned, walking over to her,"Lucy?"
He reached down to her, one slim hand touching her shoulder.† Lucy whirled about suddenly, her fingers clawing out at his face.
"Lucy!" Chauvelin grabbed both of her hands, lest she do herself--or him, for that matter--any harm.† He forced her to face him, noticing the dark bruises that marred her face,"Who did that?"
She didn't speak, instead staring towards the door with venom-filled eyes.
"Bastard," Chauvelin hissed.
The door screeched, as if opening and Chauvelin raised his voice.
"Then you will not tell us who your leader is?† Perhaps a few more nights here will help you find your tongue.† Fare thee well, Mademoiselle."
Her eyes lifted to meet his, glaring at him with the same hatred she had directed towards Roulon.† Chauvelin shook his head, caressing her jaw reassuringly with one hand.† He pointed to his ring finger, and she frowned curiously.† Finger÷ring÷he was going to?
He wouldn't possibly÷
Without another word, Chauvelin left the cell, slamming the door and locking it behind him.
Percy stared out the window, his face unreadable.† To the common person, he appeared a picture of English nobility--handsome, beautifully dressed, utterly uncaring and nonchalant.† However, to those with him, it was apparent that he was a bundle of nerves--the only proof of which being the slight tremor of his elegant hands when he lifted the gold monocle to his lips thoughtfully.
"Percy--he's here!"
He turned at the sound of his brother-in-law's voice.† Instead of finding Armand St. Just standing behind him, he found himself staring into the dark eyes of his enemy.† Chauvelin÷
Immediately, he forced himself to adopt the foppish gentility he usually exuded,"La, if it isn't my good friend the Citizen!† Chambertin, what brings you here?"
"We both know why, Blakeney," he gritted out,"At this moment, she's sitting in the cell in the East wing of Temple."
Percy's lips tightened,"How do I know this isn't a trap, Chauvelin?† Perhaps you've already executed her."
Chauvelin hissed angrily,"You know that I would never do that to her.† If you want to save her life, Blakeney, you'll meet me at the Prison at midnight this eve.† And come alone."
Turning quickly on one heel, Chauvelin disappeared, just as the other Leaguer's entered the room.
"Do you think it could be a trap?" Tony asked quietly.
"It could be."
"Then what will we do?"
"*I* will meet Chauvelin at midnight.† Andrew, prepare the Daydream. Godwilling, we shall all be aboard before daybreak."
"Will wonders never cease?" Percy asked quietly, as Chauvelin led him down a tunnel beneath the prison,"You've yet to spring the trap upon me, Chambertin. Turning over a new leaf, eh wot?"
Chauvelin didn't speak, removing a ring of keys from the pocket of his black sable coat.† Turning the key in the lock, he pushed open the heavy door.
"Take her.† Get out of Paris immediately."
Lucy smiled sleepily up at Percy, as he slipped his arms around her to lift her from the straw pallet.
"How did you keep Roulon away?" she murmurred, reaching towards Chauvelin.
Percy purposely directed his gaze elsewhere.
"Don't worry about Roulon.† I've dealt with him.† Now leave, Blakeney.† Hurry."
Chauvelin stood there, in the doorway to the empty cell, for a few moments, watching as the two figures disappeared down the tunnel.
Nearby, he could still hear muffled grunts as a man struggled against the bonds that held him.
Poor Roulon÷. he would most-assuredly receive a stern talking to from Robespierre when Chauvelin informed their leader how Roulon had allowed the Pimpernel to spirit away the traitor de Guinterre÷
It was too bad, as well, about the forged papers Chauvelin had discovered, revealing Citizen Roulon to be the former Vicomte du Roulons÷
"Sir Percy still has no clue of our existence?" Eliza asked, as she poured more tea into Lucy's cup.
Lucy glared at her friend and leader,"I never want to hear you question my loyalty, Eliza Charlotta Bernoad-Hastings!† Do you know what I went through to keep Percy from knowing my real reason for being in Paris?"
"I've never questioned--" Eliza protested quickly.
"The man has more questions than one of those demmed French inquisitors÷." She grumbled,"And I received a very stern lecture, as well, of how I was told to never lay one foot upon French soil÷"
Eliza giggled, swiftly bringing one gloved hand to her mouth, to stem the tide.
Lucy sighed dramatically, her eyes sparkling despite herself.† Finally, she allowed herself to join in the laughter.

Return to the main Archives page
Mail the author!