After a few moments of silence, I speak up.
"I think that since you're our leader, Lady Hastings, you would be best left out here to take the Marquis and his sons to Percy's. For one thing, you'd make the best spokesperson and for another, you're the last person we need getting caught. Lady Elsa has told me that the guard changes every hour, and it's due in 5 minutes. That gives us just enough time to get to the gate. We'll send them out the back way, and hopefully, and meet you here back by the port. The rest will have to be improvisation."
Lady Hastings nods, and takes cover in the greenery. Lady Elsa and I slink to the gate just in time to see the two current sentries leave their post. We slip in behind them and navigate the winding corridors.
Somewhere in the complex, Elsa looks back at me urgently and waves to stand back. We duck behind a few barrels and crates, as two men come into view.
"Citizen Chauvelin, you said yourself the Pimpernel will be here in almost half an hour! Why do you suspect he is thirty minutes early?"
"Why not lead the enemy to believe one thing, while having an entirely different trick up your sleeve? Come now, Captain. All you must do is wake a few of those lazy guards and assign them posts! How hard can it be?"
"As you wish."
The captain saunters off, and Chauvelin follows suit. After a few moments, Elsa and I crawl from behind the barrels. We quickly continue our route down the passage. Finally, we come to the cell holding the Marquis and his sons. Taking a key ring that Lady Hastings had acquired, we lead the captive from their cage and motion for them to quietly follow us. As we are about to round the corner, we notice a guard standing there with his back to us! I sign to Elsa that we have 20 minutes remaining, and she leans against the wall in despair.
The Marquis shoots a hopeless glance to his sons and shakes his head. Suddenly, we begin to hear a loud snoring. Perring around the corner, Elsa relates to us that the sentry is asleep (and very drunk). We tiptoe around and past him. As the youngest boy creeps by, he stirs slightly and groans.
The older heaves a sigh of relief, and we turn the next corner.
"And just WHAT do you think you're doing?!"
A chillingly familiar voice calls from the end of the hall. Rigidly, I turn in stark horror to see out of the corner of my eye, the drunk guard come-to and fumble with his rifle, trying desperately to stand straight. The man in black yanks an empty mug from the floor.
"Do you think this gets you money? Do you think it gives you success?? I most certainly does not keep prisoners! Man, all it gives you is dreams of bliss, and a splitting headache when you wake up!"
"I-I am sorry, Monsieur- "
We took that as our cue, and promptly headed for the back entrance. We found the old wooden door at the end of a musky corridor, rotting with decay and reeking with fungus. Elsa peered through the knots and splits in the board to check for a guard, the waved us the "all clear." We pryed it open and filed through, quickly and silently. I pointed the three trembling men th Lady Hastings, whispered a few words in the Marqui's ear, and sent them off, while Elsa and I chose a path in the brush and shrubbery to keep and eye on the noblemen. They arrived safely to Lady Hastings, and she led them off to Percy's. Elsa gave me a congratulative pat on the back, and we both sighed in exasperation as we made our way to house where the other Guilders waited, along with many congratulations.