Chapter 1- Long Ride to Paris
Lark's breath got caught in her throat. For a moment she found it impossible to breathe.
"How so?" she gasped, not quite wanting to hear Lady Hastings reply.
"Citizen Chauvelin," Lady Hastings began slowly, watching Lark's reaction.
The young lady flinched at the very name of that vile, fox-like creature.
"Has obtained a document that identifies the Pimpernel and his band. The documents are coded. Chauvelin has not been able to decode the message, so he has been searching Europe for someone who can. You, my dear, must pose as that someone. You will swipe the document and leave behind a fake message- the "translation" of the message. Do you follow me, Miss Wingfield?"
"Yes, my lady," she replied cautiously. "But tell me, must I work along? I feel more comfortable working with another."
"I'm sorry, but this assignment must be carried out alone," Lady Hastings instructed. "More than one person will become suspicious. The last thing we are aiming for is to make this operation riskier than it is."
Lark nodded.
"I understand."
"Do you accept this mission?" questioned Lady Hastings. "I assure you it will prove difficult. This mission requires you to be quite an actress. Do you have confidence in your ability?"
Lark nodded firmly. "I accept the mission, m' lady. I promise you I will not let you down."
France. How she feared it. Lark stepped off the boat and onto the ground of the revolutionary nation. Every time she was in France, Lark felt jumpy and her skin crawled. Drawing her shawl tightly around her shoulders and batting a strand of curly black hair out of her eyes, Lark produced a scrap of paper from her pocket and glanced down at the address written on it. She was surprised to realize she knew exactly where to go.
'I have come here far too often,' Lark thought as she headed down the dusty trail in search of a carriage to hire.
"Pardon?" Lark asked, smiling sweetly with her best French accent. "Can you point me in a direction where I can hire a carriage?"
The man she had spoken to didn't even look in her direction. "I can give you a life, Missy," he mumbled in nearly inaudible French. "Where are you headed?"
"Paris," she told him, and proceeded to rattle off the address.
The mangy French citizen looked up in surprise. "Citizen Chauvelin's private home?"
"Yes," she answered with a happy nod.
"Do you have a pass?" asked the man, straightening up and brushing the dust from his clothes.
Lark answered yes, reached into her pocket and produced her phony pass.
The Frenchmen looked it over. "Michelle LePierre?" he questioned.
"Yes, that is my name," she confirmed.
The man muttered something about a mistress and Lark's fancy clothes. He took her two carpet bags without a word and placed them in his carriage. Lark pushed the hood of her cape down and climbed into the vehicle. It would be a long ride to Paris.
Citizen Chauvelin. Lark could barely stand to look at him. Though he wasn't bad looking, just the thought of what was behind the face made her ill.
She was not afraid he would recognize her for who she really was. True, they had come in close contact before, but then it had been dark and she looked like a disaster. Besides, he had not come too close to her.
"Michelle LePierre?" the guard mumbled, glancing over her pass. "Citizen Chauvelin has been expecting you."
He opened the gate and allowed Lark to step within the boundaries of the Citizen's home. She stepped slowly, clutching a carpet bag in each hand, her navy blue cape swirling gently in the breeze. Something inside her made her want to turn back and go home, but Lark swallowed her fears and confidently continued forwards.
The door swung open before she had reached it. And he stood there. And she froze. And then she swallowed the lump in her throat and she nodded her head.
"Citizen Chauvelin, it is quite an honor."
'Does he have a first name?' she thought with nervous amusement. 'I don't believe I've ever heard anyone mention it.'
Chauvelin held the door open as, advanced inside.
"Quite an honor here as well, citoyenne," he assured her. "I have heard quite a few favorable comments referring to your skills as a code breaker."
Lark actually smiled, relieved that the violet Guild had done its job of making up an impressive reputation for her.
"Glad you have heard such pleasant things about my work, citizen," she replied.
He helped her remove her cloak and he hung it up on the wall. Lark smoothed out the wrinkles in her simple, yet stylish dress.
"You come from where?" questioned the Citizen.
"Just north of the city," Lark answered rather shyly.
There was a silence between the two. After all, Lark could barely stand to look at him.
Chauvelin removed a piece of paper from his pocket.
"Here is the document."
Lark took the paper and read it over of course. She knew what the paper read, but had she not, she knew she would have never figured out what it said.
"This might take me quite awhile."
"How long is quite awhile?" questioned Chauvelin, his tone somewhat threatening.
"Hard to say exactly," rushed Lark, feeling a bit nervous suddenly. "Could only be hours, could take me days.......perhaps even a month."
The citizen was not pleased. All he did in reply was grunt.
"I have had a room prepared for you," he said, "follow me."
Lark gathered her bags and followed the man she feared the most in the entire world up the stairs.
"You can begin work on the message tomorrow," Chauvelin spoke. "Just use the rest of the evening to get settled." He paused in front of a door and pushed it open. "This is your room, citoyenne."
Lark glanced inside before entering. The room was simple both in furnish and decoration. There was a large window with a window seat and a dressing table complete with a mirror besides it. The bed was across from the window and besides it sat a small bedside table with a candle. On the floor lay a woven rug.
"Merci," she thanked him, stepping into the room.
"I shall see you in the morning." Chauvelin shut the door and left her alone.
Lark dropped her bags and fell to the floor, crying. She could not help herself. The whole importance of the mission had not hit her until the door clicked closed. Now she was alone.

Lark had had an uneasy night. She was so fearful that someone would discover her true identity and have her arrested. This was not fully impossible. The French regime had some of the best spies in Belgian working to uncover traitors. Some information could slip through the cracks of society and fall into the blood stained hands of the regime.
Still exhausted from the lack of sleep, Lark dragged her aching bones out of bad and to the mirror. The bags under her usually bright eyes were the last shred of evidence she needed to prove to herself how exhausted she was. When she had been asleep, she remembered the dreams that had come to her.
The gleam of the guillotine blade, the cries of the crowd, "blood, blood!"-such was enough to make her sick and dizzy. She placed her palms down firmly on the dressing table and squeezed her eyes shut. There was no denying she was terrified. Never had she been all alone is Paris without the help of another. There was no one else to fall back on- no one else to reply on. The terror was more consuming than it had ever been before.
But she had to carry on. She had accepted the challenge even though Lady Hastings had made it perfectly clear to her how dangerous the mission would be. There could be no turning back now, and thus there would be none. Yes, she was very afraid. But if she did not do this, who would? The Pimpernel-Percy-oh how she adored that man and the courage he possessed to take on something so demanding!
The thought of him restored her courage somewhat. Even death would not prevent her from making sure his identity was kept secret. Now there was a very important job for her to do. And she would complete the task given to her. Or else die trying. But one thing was for sure--they could threaten her, torture her or kill off all her loved ones, but they could never EVER coerce her to release the name of the man known throughout Europe as the Scarlet Pimpernel. Lark owed Percy Blakeney that much.
"Have you done any work yet on the document?" Chauvelin greeted (and startled) her with these words after she had descended from the stairs.
"No, not yet, Citizen Chauvelin," she replied evenly. "I have but just woken up."
"Oh." Chauvelin paused. "Would you care for some breakfast?"
"No, thank you," she declined, feeling much too sick to eat. "May I ask where I may work?"
"Ah, yes, of course. First, however, citoyenne, I would like you to meet a....friend of mine." He went into another ajoining room and Lark could hear Chauvelin say, "Grappin, there is someone I would like you to meet."
The Citizen reentered, a hideous looking man trailing behind him. Lark had never seen a man so ugly in her life.
"Citoyenne LePierre, this is one of the Republic's finest Belgian spies- Grappin."
'Another man with one name,' thought Lark. She smiled at the Beligan.
"Greetings. I am Michelle LePierre." She extended her hand to shake his hand, but the Belgian made no move to shake hands. Lark drew her hand back.
"We do not shake hands in Belgium," stated Grappin. Lark couldn't help but notice his thick accent.
"Ah," nodded Lark, "well can you decode messages?"
"I am afraid not," replied Grappin. "That is why Citizen Chauvelin had to call for an expert."
Lark met the eyes of the Belgian, and she found them to be a familiar shade. Grappin quickly looked away, but Lark was left confused. Those eyes were very familiar.....
"Well the citoyenne must be getting to work," Chauvelin spoke up, breaking the awkward silence that had descended. "Right this way." Chauvelin ducked into an ajoining room, but Lark suddenly had the feeling as though she had met this Belgian many times before.
"Au revoir, Monsieur Grappin," she muttered before following Chauvelin away. Grappin did not reply.
Chauvelin had left Lark in a small, rather cramped study to work. Once again upon his exit he had closed the door.
So alone she sat, barely glancing at the document she was supposed to be decoding. Instead she was busy trying to figure out where before she had seen that distinct eye color. Lark had an urge to just find this Grappin and look into his familiar eyes again so that she may find out where before she had seen that shade. It was driving her crazy with curiosity.
Just as she rose from her chair, Grappin entered the room so suddenly Lark nearly fell over her chair in surprise.
"Oh, Grappin! You startled me!" she laughed nervously, fingering the locket that hung around her neck.
There was barely enough room in the study for two people.
"Have you seen Chauvelin about anywhere?" Grappin questioned.
"No, I'm afraid I have not."
Grappin nodded, but he made no attempt to leave. "You have a rather lovely accent, citoyenne, yet you speak English so well. Are you a French native?"
"Yes, I am," Lark quickly assured him. "I was born just north of this city. My parents made sure I received a good education. I went to a finishing school in England for awhile, you see."
"Is that so," mumbled Grappin.
Why was Lark getting the impression that he was not believing a word she said? The nervousness within her grew. Perhaps it was better not to speak with the spy any longer. If he suspected something and told Chauvelin...
"Are your parents native to France?" continued Grappin.
"I'm afraid I will not be able to answer any more of your questions, Monsieur Grappin. After all I still have much work to attend to."
"I understand," nodded the Belgian. "I will leave you alone now. Good-bye."
Once again, briefly, their eyes met, and then he was gone.
And Lark remained perplexed.
When Lark returned to her room several hours later, exhausted and weary. The Citizen had not been too pleased when she announced that she had been unable to do any decoding at all. Although she wanted to be out of France more than anything, Lark knew that if she decoded the message too quickly, Chauvelin would become suspicious. As Lady Hastings had suggested before Lark's departure, she would stay a week--short enough not to be found out, and long enough not to rouse suspiscion.
Lark fell down upon the bed with a tired sigh, knowing very well that she would not ahve an easy sleep tonight.
The crinkle of paper beneath her pillow aroused her suspicion and she lifted the pillow up to see that it was. A sheet of white paper, folded in half lay there, carefully placed on the paper was the mark of the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Lark gasped and grabbed the paper, tearing it open.
Breathlessly she read:
			Dear Lark,
				See if you can find me.
				Please destroy this note.

Her jaw dropped. Percy?! Where was he and how on Earth did he know she was here? Again she was confused, but she had no time to think about it. Quickly, she lit the candle besides her bed and burned the paper.
Then she sat silently on her bed, thinking. Her heart raced and her mind thought frantically. Suddenly she was even more nervous. If Chauvelin somehow discovered Percy's true identity.....where ever he was!
Lark removed her uncomfortable heels and crept towards the doorway. Silently she creaked the door open and stared out into an abandoned hallway. There was no sign of anything living. Slightly disappointed, Lark crept back inside her room.
Where was that blasted Pimpernel?

"Today, do you think?" Chauvelin asked dryly the next morning after she had once again declined breakfast. It had been a long time since she ahd last eaten or slept properly.
"Perhaps," she replied. "Please be patient, Citizen Chauvelin. These things do take some time."
Chauvelin made no immediate reply. Instead he turned to the Belgian who stood behind him.
"See if you can give citoyenne LePierre a hand with her decoding."
Lark panicked. The last thing she needed was to have to work side by side with one of Chauvelin's henchmen.
"That will not be necessary, Citizen," she quickly assured him. "It is a thoughtful notion, but I work best alone."
Chauvelin turned his head and looke dinto her eyes. The cold steel color of his eyes was far from familiar, and they chilled her to the bone. She could not help but shudder.
"I beg to differ," he pronunciated slowly, allowing the words to threateningly roll of his tongue.
Lark froze, but she fought to remain calm. "Whatever you feel is necessary, Citizen. You ARE the person in charge, after all."
Chauvelin chose not to respond, he just nodded his head and left the room.
Lark cleared her throat. "Well. . .Grappin, um, shall we, uh, get to work?" she managed a weak smile, but she found she was growing light headed.....
"Just let me sit for a bit," she muttered, staggering for the sofa.
"Are you feeling alright?" Grappin asked rather urgently, his voice full of concern. There was something in his voice now that was familiar.
Lark fell down onto the couch, her hand held against the forehead the world was spinning.....
Grappin said something else, but Lark had already passed out.
"Lark? Lark?"
Lark shook her head wearily as the world once again came into focus. The first thing that came into view were that pair of familiar eyes......
"Percy?!" she whispered, squinting to be sure. "Percy?!"
"Shush," he hushed her. "The citizen is not at home, but you can never be too sure."
Lark quickly sat up and embraced the Pimpernel joyously.
"I never would have recognized you! What are you doing here?"
"The better question would be what are YOU doing here, and why have you not eaten?"
He offered her a helping of bread and cheese, which she graciously accepted. She had not noticed until that moment how hungry she was.
"I cannot tell you why I am here, but I dare say by bow, you have figured out my mission."
"I have," confirmed Sir Percy/Grappin, "but I have not figured out how you knew about it, nor do I know what made you think up a plan like this."
"I'm afraid I cannot satisfy your curiousity. Both answers are confidential."
"If that is the way it must be," replied the Pimpernel.
Lark reached out and took both his hands in hers.
"Percy, I am so glad you're here. Chauvelin.....he frightens me so. I haven't slept in days. I've been up.....worrying." she sighed, and Percy patted her hand. "I do not understand you, Percy Blakeney. How can you travel so close to Chauvelin? What if you make a mistake.....and he discovers your true identity."
Percy gave her a knowing glance.
"I believe you already know the answer to that question."
Lark nodded without verbally admitting it. With a slight hesitation, she ventured, "Percy, are you afraid?"
The Scarlet Pimpernel hesitated before answering. "Yes, I will admit I am."
He paused before continuing, "but I ask you this: if my band did not do this, who would have?"
Percy turned to face her, a grin appearing on his face. He reached out and ruffled her hair. "But I don't know what to do with you, Lark Wingfield."
Lark went to reply, but a violent slamming was heard below.
"Chauvelin!" gasped Lark, quickly slapping a hand over her mouth.
Percy jumped to his feet and hurried into the remaining pieces of his Belgian spy getup. Lark tried to tame her hair, and leaped off the bed, taking no care to put her shoes back on. Her and Percy both made a beeline for the door at the same moment. Lark flung the door open to reveal the citizen standing there, his hands on his hips.
This looked very bad indeed.
Grappin finished buttoning his vest.
"Where have you been?"
Chauvelin's expression was an especially scary sight to behold. He declined to answer Grappin. Instead he shoved Lark out of the way and stepped into the room. He glanced at the unmade bed, covers astray, before turning back to Lark, who's curly black hair was throughly tousled and who wore no shoes. Her dress too was somewhat wrinkled.
"Where are your shoes?" Chauvelin asked darkly, taking a menacing step in her direction.
Lark was terrified. She took a step back into Grappin who in turn took her firmly by the wrist. "I took them off," she explained, her voice shaking slightly. "They are awfully uncomfortable."
The Citizen was clearly not buying a word. "You are LYING!!!" he yelled, making Lark jump. "Do you think I cannot see what went on here? Do you take me for a fool?!"
He reached out and snatched Lark's other wrist, jerking her towards him. Grappin, however, firmly held on to her other.
"Release her, Grappin!" ordered Chauvelin.
Grappin made no reply, but he held onto her.
"Grappin, I order you to release her," barked Chauvelin, his eyes wild with rage.
Lark turned her head to look back at Percy, tears streaming down both cheeks.
"No," Grappin answered flatly.
"Grappin!!!" roared Chauvelin, his grip tightening on Lark's wrist. "Do as you are told!"
"No," Grappin said again. Taking a breath he added, "she is my wife."
Lark turned again to look at Grappin, who's face remained as serious as a statue.
Chauvelin laughed. "Is that so?" he unexpectadly jerked Lark towards him again, catching Grappin off guard. He lost his grip on her, and Chauvelin pulled her against him, planting a long, wet kiss on her innocent lips.
"God, no!" Grappin exclaimed, pulling a stunned and scarred Lark out of Chauvelin's grasp.
"Leave her alone!"
He held the young woman protectively against him. "Chauvelin, please!"
Chauvelin sneered, "I don't suspect that code has been broken."
Lark was far too stunned to answer. Her eyes were as wide as saucers. Grappin answered, "No, not yet," for her.
"Well then," threatened Chauvelin, stepping closer, "you had both get to work on it, because if it is not finished in two days time, Madame La Gullotine will kiss the necks of both of you!"
He marched from the room.
Lark was too stunned to react in any way. Grappin shook her.
"Michelle, are you alright?" he wiped some of the drying tears from her face and stooped down to stare into her vacant green eyes. "Michelle?"
Lark burst into tears again, threw her arms around his neck and sobbed into his shoulder.
Grappin patted her gently on the back. He had no words of comfort for her.
Not now.

Chapter 4: Chauvelin's Twisted Plan
When her tears had dried, Grappin left her alone to recover. He crept down the stairs, scanning the area for the house's owner. Finding Chauvelin nowhere in sight, he continued into the tiny den. The document lay exactly where Lark/Michelle had left it Grappin picked it up and folded it in half.......
"Grappin? What are you doing?"
Grappin was so startled he actually jumped.
"Oh Chauvelin! You startled me!"
"What may I ask, are you doing with the most important document I have EVER obtained in all my years with the republic?" Chauvelin asked, his voice growing more and more threatening as the sentence progressed.
Grappin spun around.
"Just bringing it up to my wife, of course."
Chauvelin frowned.
"Yes, of course."
He watched Grappin leave the room. This husband and wife business was becoming more and more suspicious.
Percy/Grappin climbed the stairs and knocked on the door to Lark's room.
"Who is it?" called Lark.
"Your husband," Percy responded, being sure to maintain his Beligan accent.
"Oh, come in," she replied softly.
Percy entered, carefully closing the door behind him. He placed the document on the beside table. Lark sat on the window seat, staring sadly down at the street below.
Percy cleared his throat to get her attention. "I'm terribly sorry," he mouthed.
"Why?" she mouthed back. "You did nothing but protect me."
"I am sorry about....Chauvelin."
Lark made a disgusted face. "It is not your fault he is a.....a...." she gave up, unable to think up a word to describe him.
Percy sat besides her on the window seat. "It will all turn out alright," he assured her.
"Oh, I'm sure it all will," she sighed, and continued to just mouth her words, "but there is always room for error."
Percy nodded slowly in agreement.
Lark pushed open the windows to let in some fresh air, but only the smell of fresh blood floated inside, contaminating the room and giving Lark a sick feeling in her stomach. Quickly, she shut the windows again. From the second level of the house she could make out the blade of the gullotine.
"I always feel as though I don't really belong here, doing what I'm doing," she whispered, her eyes set on the blade. "I can be such a fearful cry baby."
She took a breath and continued. "But everytime I'm here and everytime I see the city, and the people, and the blood, I am reminded why I come here, and why I do this. I am afriad to die. Terribly, terribly afraid. But if my death will ever prevent the death of just ONE more innocent human being, I will give up my future in a moment. Just because what goes on here is so indecent and just because it makes me so sick."
Percy put his arm reassuringly around her shoulders and she laid her aching head on his chest. The two English citizens could hear the mad cries for blood even indoors. Percy reached out and closed the shutters. He couldn't bear to watch the blade go down. For once he couldn't be there, and inside, it killed him.
"We had no incidents today," Chauvelin proudly announced at dinner that evening.
Lark supressed the urge to slug him as she picked at her food.
"Congratulations!!" exclaimed Grappin, holding up his glass. "Perhaps you have scared that Pimpernel bastard away! Isn't it wonderful, m'dear?"
Lark looked up and smiled, hoping it did not look as forced as it was.
"Simply wonderful," she agreed, knowing Percy must have been crying inside like she was. "Hopefully you have heard the last of this Pimpernel, Citizen Chauvelin."
"I most certainly hope so," sighed the citizen, taking a sip of wine.
"Michelle, dearest, eat your dinner. You're going to waste away!"
"How long have you two been married?" asked Chauvelin, taking another drink as he thought How did an ugly cockroach like Grappin attract such a beautiful woman?'
"Not very long," Grappin said quickly. "We were married right before I came to work for the Republic."
Chauvelin nodded. "Well, I suspect you will be staying her tonight with your wife," he said, raising his eyebrows.
"Uh. . . . actually we was not planning on it, were we, m'dear?"
"No, we weren't," confirmed Lark/Michelle.
"Oh, you MUST. I insist. I am sure Michelle does not enjoy spending the long nights alone, do you?" he turned to look at Lark, both eyebrows raised.
"Uh....." stuttered Lark, not sure at how to reply. She could not even glance at Percy for any assistence.
"I interpret that to mean yes," smiled Chauvelin. "You must stay with her tonight, Grappin."
"You are treating it as though it is some sort of crime, Chauvelin," laughed Grappin.
Chauvelin laughed dryly. "So are YOU."
Grappin frowned. "Well it most certainly is NOT a crime! If you insist, I will stay with my lovely wife tonight."
Chauvelin seemed quite surprised at the agreement. He gave a tight, rather emotionless smile. "Wonderful."
Grappin and Michelle exchanged a smile, but Percy and Lark did not.
"Goodnight," Chauvelin waved after making sure the both of them were both together in Lark's room.
"Goodnight," smiled Grappin and Michelle.
Chauvelin closed the door and the two of them exchanged horrorfied looks as they both heard the turn of a key.
Lark lunged forward and grabbed the handle, but it was too late. The door had been locked.
"Curse that bloodthirsty bastard!" Lark spat, giving the door a hard kick.
"He's testing us," sighed Percy. "I suspected this."
"Testing us?" questioned Lark giving the Pimpernel an inguistive look.
"I do not think he believes we are married," said Percy.
"Maybe he noticed I wore no wedding band," Lark pointed out.
Percy snapped his fingers. "Of course! A ring! How could I have forgotten something so demmed important. Well I suppose I was too poor to buy you one, eh, love?"
He smiled at her, but she did not smile back at him.
Lark sighed. "What are we to do now?"
Percy thoughtful for a moment. "Honestly, I don't know."
Lark was becoming nervous, "Well, is he planning to do, come in here while we are sleeping to spy on us?!"
Percy evenly answered, "I'm afraid so."
"Well if that is not the most twisted plot I've ever heard!" exclaimed Lark.
"Chauvelin is a demented soul," agreed Percy.
There was momentary silence.
"Well, what are we to do?" asked Lark glancing at Percy for help. "If we stay here, he'll discover we are lying and have us gullotined for sure! And dying for nothing is not something I am willing to do just yet."
Percy agreed, "Same here. When I die, it will be honorably. I refuse to sit here like a lame duck just waiting to be pounced on. There is a way to get out of this mess...."
Lark suddenly threw open the windows and made a grab for the document.
"This is all the respect I have for the new French Republic!" she announced triumphantly, ripping the document into miniscule pieces and tossing them out into the wind.
"You hear that, France?! I-"
Percy slipped his arm around her waist, clapped a hand over her mouth and pulled her away from the window.
"Hush," he whispered in her ear. "I think I have a plan."

"Climb out the window," breathed Lark after Percy had dictated the basics of his plan to her. "Are you sure that's possible for me? In a dress? And we are up two stories?"
Percy raised an eyebrow.
"Is there anything truly impossible to you? And besides, would you rather wait here to get arrested?"
Lark didn't hesitate.
"Tell me what I have to do."
Percy smiled and took the covers off the bed. "Here, we'll tie these together, and you can use it as a rope. I'll drop down your bags and you can escape. I will give you the address where my men await instructions. I will wait here, and go to sleep. When Chauvelin enters, he will see me sleeping alone, and the rope dangling out the window."
"Oh, and he will think I have left you," she added with a nod.
"But of course you must leave behind two sheets of paper. One with the documents meaning, and the other a note explaining why you left me. And you must also take with you a sheet of paper with the instructions for my men."
He took a sheet of paper with instructions for my men."
He took a sheet of paper and a pen and wrote down a few instructions. He then took sealing wax from his jacket pocket, lit the candle, smeared some melted wax onto the paper and took off his ring.
"Goodness," exclaimed Lark, "do you ever take the ring off?! What is someone spots it?" "I never ta
ke it off," Percy explained, pressing the ring into the wax to make the imprint of the small, wild flower. "Here are the instructions. Make sure they reach my men, as they are very important."
Lark took the paper carefully from Percy's hand, and tucked it down the front of her dress.
"You can put all you trust in me, Percy. I will be sure to get this safely to your men."
She then took up the pen herself, and scribbled on the first sheet in French:
Citizen Chauvelin--
The message you interupted read nothing important. It simply stated that the Pimpernel would not be returning to Paris for several days. I hope the next letter you interrupt actually does contain his identity.
"Splendid," commented Percy, "now the other."
She took a fresh sheet and wrote in French:
My dearest Grappin,
I have been doing much thinking as of late and have come to the decision that I cannot stay with you. How can I remain with a man who cannot even afford to buy me a ring?
"I sound so...shallow," Lark commented when she was finished writing. She folded both notes in half and placed them on the bedside table. She then proceeded to pack her bags.
Percy wrote the address of the League hide out down on a slip of paper, and folded it into quarters.
"Here is where you must go."
Lark took the paper and read it.
"Thank you."
Percy draped the ladder out the window. The remnants of slaughter still lingered in the air, but the stench was not as repulsive as it had been eariler. Lark placed her bags on the window seat.
"Are you sure the he cannot see me make my escape?" she asked, glancing down at the ground. It was such a long way down.
Percy answered, "Nothing is certain, but if you don't take this chance, we will both be killed anyway."
Lark nodded. "Yes, you're right."
She looked back at Sir Percy, with a small, slightly nervous smile on her lips.
"Well, Sir Percy, I suppose this is goodbye.For now at least."
Percy returned the smile. "For now."
There passed an akward silence before they both embraced one another.
"Be strong," Percy told her.
"I will try," she answered, a tear escaping her eye.
"Keep your chin up," Percy called to her as she stepped onto the window seat and began her journey to the ground.
She turned back at him once more, smiling through her tears. "The only thing I have to fear," she said," IS my fear." And Lark slipped down the rope out of view.
Lark held her breath the whole way down. She passed by the den windows, but both were dark. After she had safely reached the ground, Percy dropped both her bags down to her. With one last wave, she disappeared into the shadows.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ She knocked and heard nervous murmurings inside. No one answered.
Lark sighed and announced. "I am a friend of Grappin. I have instructions."
In a second the door was opened and Lark cautiously stepped into a pitch dark room.
"Hello?" she whispered. "Lord Hastings? Lord Dewhurst? Sir Ozzy?"
All at once the candles were lit and she could see clearly. A few of the bounders put their rifles down.
"Miss Wingfield?" questioned Hastings, "what are you doing here?"
"Never mind that," Lark rushed, pulling the Pimpernel's instructions out of her hiding place. "Percy has given me instructions for you."
Dewhurst took the paper, broke the seal, and read the contents. When he finished reading, he made a curt nod and looked up.
"Hastings, Elton, you are to take this young lady back to England in the morning."
Hastings and Elton nodded without protest, but Lark had objections.
"Oh, must I go back to England already?" she asked.
Dewhurst looked at her, eyebrows raised. "Miss Wingfield, do you really wish to stay in Paris?"
Lark yawned, suddenly realizing how safe she felt surrounded by the League of the Pimpernel.
"No, I guess not."
Dewhurst smiled. "It thought so."
Hastings took her gently by the arm. "You look simply exhausted. Why not come and get some sleep?"
"Well," yawned Lark, half asleep already. She allowed Hastings to lead her upstairs into a bedroom.
" You can spend the night here. I'll have your things brought up."
Lark stummbled over to the bed and laid down upon it with a contented sigh. Hastings hesitated in the doorway.
"He doesn't know," Lark assured him, her eyes already closed. "Percy doesn't know."
Hastings smiled in relief. As he closed the door he whispered, "Good night, Miss Wingfield."
Lark was already fast asleep.
Chauvelin applauded himself on his master plan. He would catch these liars in the act, and send them both off to jail. Snickering, he retrived the keys from his pocket, unlocked the door and stepped inside.
What he saw shocked him.
There was a ladder make of sheets leading out of the window. There lay two hastily written notes on the bedside table, and the Belgian lay asleep on the bed, still fully clothed. Only his shoes had been removed.
Chauvelin picked up both notes. He read the first one, then glanced down at Grappin, who was still sound asleep. 'What a heavy sleeper this man must be', thought Chauvelin with a laugh. 'His wife left him, and he didn't even notice!'
"Hey, Grappin, wake up!"
He gave the Belgian a violent smack on the head.
Grappin ground and sat up. "Citizen Chauvelin, what are you doing here?" he looked around totally disoriented. "What time is it?"
"Never mind the time," snapped Chauvelin. "Read this, you bastard."
Grappin rubbed his eyes, took the paper and read it with a growing expression of sadness sweeping across his face.
"She left me!" he gasped. "She left me!"
Chauvelin apathetically patted Grappin on the shoulder before reading the other note.
"Sacrebleu!" he angrily exclaimed, throwing the paper to the ground. "That demmed Pimpernel!! Someday I will catch him!! Someday!! He cannot be far!!"
Grappin sobbed into his hands.
"She broke me heart, Chauvelin!" he sobbed.
"She broke mine as well," Chauvelin replied, tearing the note in half. "But clues or not, I will learn the true identity of this man--this Scarlet Pimpernel, and I will personally lower the blade to sever his honorable neck from the rest of him. Then the Republic can be free to grow into what we had always hoped it to become."
Chauvelin closed his hand around the paper, crushing it.
Then he began to laugh. Quietly at first, then it grew louder and louder.
And besides his laughing maniac, Grappin sat sobbing, but Percy Blakeney, the Pimpernel himself, couldn't help but smile.


Return to the main Archives page
Mail the author!