Chapter One: Shadows
"We have to split up," Duncan muttered, pulling his long, dark brown hair
away from his face.
"I agree," Lark whispered, pulling the hood of her cloak over her mop of
black curls. "If we stick together, it will be dangerous. We'll be spotted."
Lady Hastings agreed as well. "Our best chance is to act totally oblivious.
Scope out the area. The Pimpernel should be arriving within the hour."
"We should meet back here in half and hour," MacLeod spoke up, "perhaps each
of us should take a side of the building."
"As good as that idea sounds, Duncan," Lark pointed out, "there are four
sides to the jail, and only three of us."
"You mean there WERE only three of you," another voice put in.
Lark's heart froze in her chest.
"Who goes there?" Duncan ventured, reaching for the sword he always kept with
The three Guilders watched silently as a familiar figure stepped out of the
shadows. "Good thing I followed you here," Christopher Wingfield laughed, his
green eyes dancing.
"Chris!" Lark exclaimed, embracing her elder brother. "I'm so relieved!"
"You must be more careful," MacLeod warned. "I nearly took your head."
"Now your plan will work, Mr. MacLeod," rushed Lady Hastings. "Lark, you take
the far side of the building. Duncan, the front. Chris, the back. I'll stay
here. Remember, we'll meet back here in one half of an hour. Everybody ready?"
The four Guilders exchanged looks. Duncan looked solemn, Lark looked worried,
and Christopher had a cocky grin as usual. They all nodded in unison. "Well
then," Eliza finished, her stomach in butterflies, "good luck to all of you."
Duncan MacLeod had a slight problem. He still wore that snug soldier's
uniform that was extremely uncomfortable. Still, as he thought it over, the
uniform might prove to be an asset.
The Scotsman stood in front of the jail, acting nonchalant, as though he was
actually a real French soldier with a small uniform.
Although he was only twenty-nine years old, MacLeod was a well traveled
individual. He had seen all of Europe and Asia in this short period of time,
and he was friendly with much of the royalty. This included the former King
and Queen of France, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. He had joined the Violet
Guild because he despised the slaughter of the revolution, and knew just how
many innocent men, women and children were being butchered
Duncan had not been pacing for more than five minutes when a hysterical
French soldier came running up, breathless.
"I believe I've been tricked!" gasped the soldier, leaning against the
building to catch his breath.
"Tricked!" Duncan exclaimed, "how so?"
"A beautiful young woman collapsed in my arms and told me she had seen the
Scarlet Pimpernel taking down ten French soldiers! I searched the whole area,
but I couldn't see any sign of a brawl."
Duncan grinned. "That's because you were looking in the wrong place, my good
man! The Pimpernel was seen at least twenty blocks down that way." he pointed
in the direction opposite to the one Lark had previously pointed out.
"I'll go save them!" exclaimed the soldier. "You stay here and guard the
"Yes, sir," Duncan drawled.
The stupid soldier ran off down the street, and MacLeod laughed, leaning
against the building. "Idiot."
Christopher Wingfield, twenty-five years old but already a man with four near
death experiences behind him, strolled around across from the prison's back
door. He was humming "God Save the King" under his breath for a few reasons.
One, if a Frenchman overheard him, he would be in deep trouble, and Chris just
lived for trouble. Two, he heard that Percy Blakeney sang the song when he was
approaching, and, like every other Guilder, Chris admired Sir Percy more than
anyone. And lastly, Chris just plain liked the song.
His whole life he had been a daredevil. It drove his parents and the local
girls crazy. It seemed that there was nothing more irresistible to them then a
On the horizon, the sun was peeking up, and Chris for one welcomed it's
presence. He hated the cold, and the last thing he wanted to do was stand out
and freeze for half an hour.
Christopher grinned devilishly remembering the expression on his sister's
face when he interrupted their conversation from the cover of the shadows. He
had joined the Violet Guild to save the innocent yes, but more so for the
danger and excitement. Of course he was not supposed to be in Paris right now,
but he had found out his sister's whereabouts and could not resist the
adventures that lay only across the channel. England was a dull place to
Christopher. Safe, yes, but horribly dull. All there was to do on his father's
vast estate was hunt, ride horses or play tennis. And tennis certainly didn't
give the same thrill as barely escaping from the grasp of Chauvelin,
especially when you were constantly winning.
Twenty-three year old Lark Wingfield stood silently concealed by shadows. She
remained stiff, taking small breaths only when necessary. She had a superb
view from this perspective and she did not want to be spotted.
The pampered daughter of one of the richest men in England, Lark enjoyed the
simple English life of leisure, but she could not sit back sipping tea while
so many were violently dying just a short boat ride away. She always seemed to
be more nervous than she actually was, and she did not enjoy the rush of
danger until she was safe, unlike her brother. Christopher enjoyed the rush
even before the danger came. His recklessness drove the family crazy, and they
constantly worried about him.
'Right now', Lark thought, a small smile coming to her lips, 'I bet he's
strolling around humming "God Save the King".'
Silently, she snuck her pocket watch from her dress and glanced down at it.
Ten minutes had passed. Twenty more to wait out. Her heart pounded in her
chest. What if none of them saw any sign of Percy of Chauvelin before the
thirty minutes were up?
Lark decided it was best not to think about it at all. She had a horrible
reputation of always seeing the down side of things.
Suddenly she spotted some soldiers moving towards her. There were only about
three of them, with dark cloaks covering their shoulders. It was quite
apparent to Lark that they were soldiers. Looked to her as though Chauvelin
was going to try and catch Percival Blakeney at his own game.
Lark watched with growing fear as the soldiers half ran half walked right
past her and hid themselves in the same shadow against the wall. Her heart
turned to stone, her breath was caught in her throat. The terror fully
paralyzed her. This was a million times worst than standing face to face with
Chauvelin himself. The terror was suffocating her. . . . .she felt dizzy. . .
If she had not coughed right at that moment, she would have died. And she
also probably wouldn't have been noticed. Alive anyway. . .
All three soldiers turned to look at her. Lark remained paralyzed in fear
until one soldier said quite loudly, "it's a spy!"
Lark didn't know what to do. They charged towards her, and all she could
process in her mind was 'run, run, run!' So she did.
Lark frantically took off down the street, the three soldiers right behind
her. Really, it was an unfair advantage to them. She was wearing horribly
uncomfortable high heeled shoes, while they had on simple black boots.
As she ran she tried to adjust her cloak to lower the wind resistance. Unable
to do so, she simply removed it, and threw it behind her in hopes it would
momentarily distract the Frenchmen. The plan worked somewhat. The cloak caught
the three in the face, and they threw it to the ground before continuing.
Another disadvantage to Lark: she was wearing a billowy purple gown, while
they got breeches. 'I hate fashion', she thought viscously, 'and I hate fru
Lark caught the sight of a narrow alley coming up on the right. How could she
possibly ditch the bozos and disappear into the alley? Her mind raced
frantically, eliminating all the foolish possibilities. Suddenly the idea came
to her, and it was so simple she couldn't believe she didn't think of it
Eight minutes until they regrouped. Duncan was extremely bored, pacing back
and forth like a factory made martinet. How did the soldiers stand this for
hours at a time?
MacLeod was worried. The man he had knocked unconscious wouldn't stay in that
state much longer, and when he came to, he would see Duncan in his uniform and
recognize him. Afterall, Duncan knew he himself wouldn't forget the man who
knocked him out, stole his clothes and dumped him in an alley.
That one man could blow his whole cover. . . . .and perhaps the whole
operation. . . . .
Christopher met up with Lady Eliza in the same alley he had left her in.
"Anything?" she questioned.
"Not even a HINT of a trap," he sighed, "I'm afraid it may be all over for
Duncan plodded towards them looking disappointed and bored out of his skull.
"Mr. MacLeod, anything?" Lady Hastings questioned lifelessly.
The Scotsman shook his head sadly.
"Perhaps Lark did," Eliza pointed out, trying to raise morale. "We must never
For five tense minutes the three waited for Lark to return.
"Where is she?" Chris demanded, peering into the street. "Lark is never
Duncan swallowed. "You don't think. . . .she's been. . . .captured??"
Lady Eliza looked up in alarm. "I most certainly hope not."
Chris was not grinning. "We have to go look for her," he insisted.
"Do you think that's wise?" questioned Duncan.
"Yes!" snapped Christopher with so much anger it made both MacLeod and Eliza
jump. "She's my sister. If you don't want to search for her, fine, but I'm
going with or without your permission!" Chris stopped yelling and allowed his
breathing to slow.
There was a momentary silence between the three Guilders. Duncan glanced at
Christopher, who had his eyes set sternly on Eliza. Lady Hastings, in the
meanwhile, was looking from Mr. MacLeod to the young Wingfield while trying to
think up a clever solution to the unthinkable dilemma. "Very well,
Christopher," she began slowly." You and I will search for your sister."
Turning to Duncan, she placed a gloved hand on his arm and said very
seriously, "Mr. MacLeod, you remain the only hope for the League of the
Scarlet Pimpernel and the Violet Guild. You and that horrid uniform must
destroy Chauvelin's plan from the inside out. You are up to the challenge, I
"I am always willing to tackle a challenge, Lady Hastings," the handsome Scot
"Very well then. Christopher, you go to the far side of the jail and search
there. I will take the western end. You and I will rendeverous here in twenty-
five minutes. Agreed?"
"Yes, my lady," nodded Christopher.
"Well men," sighed Eliza, clasping both hands in front of her. "I wish you
both the best of luck, as always."
Chapter Two: Fru fru and "God Save the King".
Lark Wingfield turned a sharp corner into the narrow alley way and searched
for something to hide behind.
The alley was deserted. Only the fading shadows could save her now.
She took the gamble and slipped into the protection of one just as the clowns
turned into the alley.
"She must have run through," one figured. So they ran through the alley and
turned the corner.
Lark took a huge sigh of relief and leaned against the bricks. She was very
late meeting the others, and she knew they must be horribly worried.
Just as she was about to turn and head back, she felt a strong hand grip her
shoulder. Then came a sonorous yet inane voice speaking, "sink me! Miss
Wingfield! What in the world are you doing in Paris?"
Christopher knew he had to search for his sister, but he was not sure how to
go about doing in. Afterall, he couldn't very well go around calling her name
as if she was some sort of lost pet. If they had indeed captured her, she
would be in prison and he would have no way of knowing. He hoped Duncan would
have enough sense to check the jail.
Humming, "God Save the King" once again, Christopher passed through several
alleys, looking for any sign of his beloved sister.
Up ahead, a pile of crumpled fabric caught his eye. Chris picked up the
cloak and examined it. He recognized it right away as his sister's favorite.
Why on Earth would she simply drop it in the middle of a Parisian alley?
Even though it was clearly a woman's garment item, Chris was still a bit
chilled and knew the cloak would help keep him warm. He slung it over his
shoulders, tied it in front, and pulled the hood up over his dark brown hair.
Feeling a bit more confident (and warm), Christopher Wingfield continued down
the dimly lit Parisian street, loudly singing "God Save the King".
MacLeod had checked the prison, but Lark Wingfield was clearly not inside. If
she had indeed been captured, she must have been taken to another prison.
Unless they took her straight to the guillotine. . . .
Duncan immediately felt horribly ill. Imagine that beautiful head falling
into a basket without ever knowing how much he-
The Scotsman's thoughts were cut short by a shrill voice exclaiming, "I
didn't see the demmed Pimpernel down that way either!"
MacLeod stopped pacing long enough to see the soldier whom he had sent twenty
blocks down looking for the Pimpernel.
"He must have run off," shrugged Duncan.
"Now I'm late for the ambush," mumbled the soldier. "Citizen Chauvelin's
going to have my head for this."
Duncan perked at the word 'ambush'. "Ambush? The Pimpernel?"
The soldier laughed. "Course the Pimpernel! Who else- Robespierre?" the
imbecile had a good laugh at his own joke. "Citizen Chauvelin never informed
"If he had, would I be asking about it?" Duncan replied testily.
The soldier paused a moment, thinking. "I suppose not," he finally decided.
"Well, I'll tell you then, friend. We're all supposed to hide in the shadows
and when the Pimpernel shows up to rescue the Marquis, we ambush him and throw
him in prison with the Marquis!" the soldier laughed again. Duncan thought he
seemed pretty cheerful for someone who thought Chauvelin was going to have his
"Why don't you go take your place?" Duncan asked. "Perhaps you're not too
"Good idea, friend. Will you stay here and guard the jail then?"
"Course," Duncan replied, "go on ahead. . . .friend."
The soldier waved and headed down the street.
Duncan's mind raced. How could he possible undo the operation so quickly??
"Long to reign over us, God save the king!" Christopher finished the song for
the third time, and as he did so, he was suddenly ambushed by at least thirty
soldiers dressed in dark cloaks.
He was so confused he couldn't think, all he could do was watch as they
secured his hands behind his back. This was not a healthy situation. The
thrill of a lifetime. Now all he had to do was get out of it.
"Pardon me, but what seems to be the problem, gentles?"
"What's the problem?" one mocked, "the problem is you're the Scarlet
Christopher's cocky grin faded in a worried frown. His green eyes grew as
wide as saucers. "The- the Scarlet Pimpernel? Ha! That's simply ridiculous!
I'd sooner be the Queen of Spain than the Pimpernel!"
"Nonsense," a soldier silenced him. "Who else would wear women's clothing and
parade down the street singing "God Save the King"?!"
"A cross dressing Englishman?" ventured Christopher.
His response was a smack in the head.
He tried again, "and idiot?"
He received the same response.
"Pray, it simply cannot be me, gentles! I was not singing "God Save the
King"! Odd's life, but I don't even know the words!"
"Well then," a soldier spat harshly right in Chris' face. "What were you
Christopher hesitated briefly. "My Country Tis of Thee?"
The soldiers exchanged looks before they all burst out into broken laughter.
"Take him away."
For the first time in his life, Christopher Wingfield did not like being in
danger. Not one bit.
Lark's breath immediately quickened, her nervousness returning. Who was this
man who knew her by name?
Slowly she glanced up at his face and she was surprised to see a pair of
twinkling blue eyes accompanied by an absolutely gorgeous face!
"S-s-Sir Percival Blakeney?" she gasped, dumbstruck. What amazing good
fortune that she would run into her father's close friend right her and now!
Somehow she managed a curtsy. " I am surprised to see you here in Paris at
such an odd hour, Sir Percy."
"I must say I am more surprised to see you here in Paris at such an odd hour
without an escort mind you!" exclaimed Sir Percy, "where is your father, my
"Back in England," she admitted.
"I'm sure he would simply die if he say you being chased around at the crack
of dawn by three French soldiers! I know you are an eligible young woman, Miss
Wingfield, but sink me! Must they chase you like an escaped hog?"
Lark laughed and tried to play innocent. "Not exactly, Sir Percy. You see, I
overheard them talking about the Scarlet Pimpernel."
"Yes, Sir Percy. They plan to trap him and his men when they go to rescue the
Marquis and his two sons this morning. Seems the Marquis has already managed
to escape to the Pimpernel's hide out. The soldiers thought I was going to
report back to the Pimpernel, while in the meanwhile, I haven't a single clue
who the man is!" She and Percy both laughed.
"That Pimpernel fellow is going to get himself in a whole heap of trouble,"
sighed Percy, "which is too bad. But still, an intelligent man should know
better than to sail into the fire, don't you think?"
"Yes, of course," Lark agreed.
"Well then, Miss Wingfield, may I ask why you are in Paris to begin with?
Pray, I don't believe you've come to watch these demmed executions!"
She gave a silly little laugh and said, "Lud no, Sir Percy! I will tell you
why I have come, but only if you promise not to inform my father of it. He
does hate my hobby so."
"I promise," Percy said, "please do tell, I love secrets."
"There is but one thing in the world one could want out of Paris."
"La! And what's that?"
She gave him a sly look as she began to walk away, "why the marvelous fru
fru, of course!"
Duncan watched nervously as a crowd on soldiers approached, shoving a man in
a woman's cloak along. MacLeod's heart ceased to beat. Could it be they had
caught Percival? Had the unthinkable occurred? Was the League no more?
This was all Duncan's fault! Unless of course, he could find a loop hole. . .
"The Pimpernel has been caught!" cheered the soldiers, shoving the man
towards Duncan. "Throw him in jail!"
MacLeod got a glance at the man the soldiers had captured. Why those bright
green eyes did not belong to Percy Blakeney, but to a certain daredevil by the
name of Christopher Wingfield.
MacLeod took Chris by the cloak and held him away from the jeering soldiers.
"This is wonderful!" he exclaimed, grinning. "While you were gone, Citizen
Chauvelin came and instructed me to take care of the Pimpernel, while the rest
of you took the day off."
"Yeah!" cheered the soldiers. With a few more jeers aimed at the 'Pimpernel',
the scattered. Soon the area was deserted.
"What happened to you?" Duncan asked, freeing Chris' hands, "did you find
"They mistook me for the Pimpernel because of my 'disguise' and the fact that
I was singing "God Save the King"."
"You idiot," mumbled Duncan, "well what about Lark?"
"I couldn't-" he started.
"Chris! Duncan!" Lark ran up to the man and embraced them both.
"Lark! We thought you were captured!" Chris exclaimed, handing her her cloak.
"Lud no, Christopher! I was simply chased like a hog by three French clowns."
She slung her cloak over her shoulders.
"Three mimes?" questioned Chris, "why?"
Duncan shook his head. "Well, everything is resolved now. The soldiers
thought your brother was the Pimpernel, captured him, and then went home to
Lark laughed. "I ran into Percy Blakeney believe it or not, and innocently
gave him the whole story as though I had no idea who he was."
Christopher checked him pocket watch. "Come along, it's time to regroup with
"I for one," sighed Lark as they headed down the brightly lit street, the
morning sun lighting the sky, "will be glad to get back to England and rest
for a bit."
"Anyone for a game of tennis when we return?" asked Chris with a cocky grin.
"Nah," said the Scotsman good naturedly. "You always win."
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