Lark was beside herself. All but two? She thought anxiously. Ffoulkes and Percy? How could this be possible?
She grabbed her brother's arm. "Chris, what are we to do?"
Christopher did not reply. He too was still in shock.
"Duncan." She turned to the Scotsman. "Any wisdom you have to offer would be greatly appreciated."
Duncan too was in shock. "I have none."
A few of the Guilders had gone over to console Lady Hastings on her husband's capture. Lark went over to her too, but she has an important question. "Lady Hastings, where are Andrew and Percy now? And where have the others been taken?"
Lady Hastings turned to look at her. "I knew someone was bound to ask." She handed Lark a slip of paper. "Here is the hideout where Ffoulkes and Blakeney are. They will know more about what happened to the others."
"Thank you, my lady."
"Find them, Miss Wingfield. Find my husband." Lady Hasting's eyes were intent.
"We will try," Lark promised.
France, 1792. The bloody Reign of Terror that tore through the country showed no signs of slowing down. Lark studied the slip of paper Lady Hastings had given her. Between her knowledge of the city and Duncan's memory, they would be able to find the address without much trouble.
"You think they'll have information on the whereabouts of the others?" Christopher asked.
"I'm counting on it," sighed Lark, handing the address to Duncan.
"I know where this is," he commented, "is there some sort of password?"
Lark nodded. "Don't worry. I know it."
"I bet you Chauvelin has them," Chris mumbled.
Lark shuddered. "I certainly hope not."
Lark studied the building that Duncan had led them to. "This looks about right."
She glanced around to make sure the coast was clear. She then quickly gave the secret knock and waited.
The door creaked open and pitch black loomed in front of them. Lark began to enter the room, motioning for the others to follow her. Once all three were safely inside, the door was closed, and candles were lit.
"Lark Wingfield?!" Percy exclaimed. "What are you doing here?"
"I heard about the League being captured, and I came to help you free them."
"I see you brought friends," Andrew Ffoulkes said.
"Between the five of us, we'll be able to figure out a way to free the League," Duncan said. "Lark told us you were the Pimpernel, Percy."
"I had to," she added.
Percy exchanged a look with Andrew.
"Tell us what happened," Lark encouraged.
The Scarlet Pimpernel cleared his throat. "I think it would be best if the three of you go back to England. It's too dangerous in Paris now, and this is something the League must deal with itself."
"Dammit, Percy, there is no League left! You can't do this by yourself! I'm not going back home until the League is safe. Every last member." Lark glared right at Percy, watching his reaction.
Again he glanced at Andrew, then looked back at Lark.
"You have a point. Come. We'll tell you what happened."
"Let me get this straight," Duncan began when the two Leaguers had finished talking. "You sent 5 men on a mission. When they did not return, you sent five more men after them. When they did not come back, you sent more, and so on until only the two of you were left."
Percy nodded "I have never done anything so foolish in my life. I thought nothing could hold my men. I see now I was wrong."
"But you don't know who has them," Chris confirmed.
"We're not sure," Andrew assured him, "but, of course, we suspect Chauvelin."
"I will be able to confirm that tomorrow, if it is him. Grappin has an appointment with Chauvelin and I'm sure the bastard will want to brag."
Lark thought for a moment. "I'm sure it's him. I'm positive." She paused for a moment, glancing at her male companions. "If it is him," she said slowly with a grin, "I think I have a plan that will work smoothly."
The next morning, Percy, disguised as his alter ego, Grappin, headed off to meet with Chauvelin.
Lark, dressed simply in a red dress, also headed off to meet with Chauvelin.
The took different routes.
Percy got there first. "Chauvelin! It's Grappin! The Belgian!"
The door swung open, and there stood Chauvelin in head to toe black as usual.
"Grappin! Have you heard?"
"Heard what?" Grappin asked innocently.
"I've captured the Pimpernel's league!" Chauvelin exclaimed gleefully, rubbing his hands together. "I don't have the Pimpernel, but I have his band of merry men! He'll try to rescue them for sure, and when he does...." he closed his fist triumphantly.
Grappin laughed.
"Brilliant strategy, sir. I'm sure the fool will fall right into it."
"I have not yet had a chance to come face to face with any of these Englishmen, but I plan to go visit them tomorrow." He laughed.
"Can I come?" Grappin asked.
"No, Grappin. I'm sorry, but I must do this alone."
"I understand, sir."
There came a knock at the door.
"Want me to get the door?" asked Grappin.
"No. You go into the study, Grappin. I'll answer it."
Grappin did as he was told.
Chauvelin opened the door. "Michelle?"
Lark gave him a sexy smile. "Hello, Citizen Chauvelin."
She batted her eyelashes.
Chauvelin swallowed. "Michelle?" he repeated. "Uh....." he stepped outside and shut the door. "Michelle, this is kind of bad timing. Your husband is inside."
Lark made a face. "He is?" she said disgustedly. "Well, Chauvelin, I certainly did not come to see him." She stepped towards him. "I came....to see you...."
Ugh, this is disgusting, Lark thought, as she continued to step towards him.
"I've had such a crush on you ever since I first met you a month ago."
She pressed up against him, and, though it repulsed her so, kissed him softly.
Chauvelin received the kiss in dazed fashion, then pulled away.
"Michelle.....lovely.....*lovely* Michelle, I....wish to....pursue this, but not now. Not with your husband inside." He stroked her cheek, "Can you perhaps come back later, my dear?"
She shook her head. "No, no, I cannot tonight. Tomorrow morning, perhaps?"
Chauvelin hesitated. "I have business...tomorrow morning, my dear. Can't we meet in the afternoon?"
"No, Chauvelin. I too have business." She paused to adjust his jacket tenderly. "Can't we meet? I won't keep you long....I promise." She let those last two words roll off her tongue.
"All right," Chauvelin agreed. "Can you come at ten?"
"Perfect. I look forward to it." She took his hand, squeezed it, and began away with a dainty wave.
Chauvelin breathlessly waited until she was gone before going back inside. He walked into the study, flushed.
"Who was that?" asked Grappin.
"No one," Chauvelin answered quickly.
"Is that women's lipstick you have on?"
Chauvelin ran his hand over his mouth, and said nothing.
Grappin turned his back to Chauvelin and grinned
Percy returned back to the others an hour or so later.
Lark rushed right up to him.
"He has captured the League, right?"
"Yes," Percy confirmed. "How did things go with the Citizen? It seems to me you did your job well."
"It went just as I expected," she told him. "Tommorrow at ten, I'm going to try and keep him busy for awhile. That's when the rest of the plan comes in."
The others crowded in to hear the rest of her plan.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Michelle showed up a Chauvelin's home at 10 o'clock precisely, dressed, well, she *was* dressed, but if she went back to England dressed as she was, she would not be allowed back in the aristocratic society.
She knocked on the door and brushed a few strands of hair out of her face. Chauvelin did not keep her waiting long.
"Good morning, my dear," he greeted her.
"Good morning, Chauvelin." She raised her eyebrows. "May I come in?"
Chauvelin stepped aside. "You may."
She proceeded inside and, grinning, he shut the door behind her.
Chris, Duncan and Andrew, disguised as French guards, marched towards citizen Chauvelin's house.
"This is all too easy," Chris mumbled.
"I can't be sure of that until it's over," Andrew replied.
"Shush." Duncan MacLeod stepped forward and rapped militaristically on the door.
Christopher grinned.
"Christopher, stop grinning and start acting like a soldier," Duncan ordered.
The door swung open and the soldiers stood at attention.
"What is it?" demanded Chauvelin, clearly irritated.
"We were sent to you, sir. Citizen Robspierre said you needed more guards where the League is being held."
"Yes, and....." Chauvelin tried to hurry him. "Get to the point, man!"
"The Citizen did not tell us where they were being held." "Oh, is that all!" Chauvelin exclaimed. "I wouldn't trust the Pimpernel's league far from my home. They are being held at the jail de Paris."
"Thank you--"
Chauvelin slammed the door in their faces before Duncan could finish his sentence.
"Eager to get back to something?" mumbled Andrew.
"Come on," said Duncan, heading back down the walkway. "Let's go free the League."
"Who was that, Chauvie?" Lark asked when Chauvelin came grumbling back into the room.
He closed the doors to shield off the room, and closed the shades. "Just some guards," he answered. he sat beside her on the couch and leaned over her. "Now... where were we?"
She smiled back at him, and placed her hands on his shoulders. "Let's take it slow, Chauvelin. I want to savor every moment."
What I will do for the League.....Lark thought in disgust. Hurry, Percy. HURRY!!
The three French 'guards' approached the jail de Paris, complete with bayonets on their rifles.
The head jail guard watched the trio approach with suspicion.
"Where have you been assigned, soldier?"
"We have been assigned to relieve you and your men, sir," said Duncan.
The head guard laughed. "There are ten men guarding this jail! Are you trying to tell me that Robspierre sent three men to replace ten?!"
Duncan laughed too. "Of course not! I probably should have said we have been sent to relieve you and two other guards. More replacements will follow."
"That makes more sense. LaForge! Picard! You have been relieved." He turned to Duncan with a smile, "Thank you, soldier."
Duncan, Chris and Andrew watched the three real guards disappear around the corner.
"Great," mumbled Chris. "We have 8 REAL guards to deal with now! What are we going to do?"
Duncan thought for moment. There had to be a way out.
Lark heard a reassuring knock at the door just in time. She pried Chauvelin's lips off of her, and sighed.
"Who is *this* now!"
Chauvelin went to get up, but Lark pulled him back down. "No, Chauvie. You wait here. I'll send whoever it is away so that we may continue...."
"All right," Chauvelin agreed, settling himself back on the couch. "Be quick."
She left the room, closed the doors behind her, took a moment to fix her hair, then opened the door.
Percy stood there, in full Grappin getup.
"Hello," Lark mouthed. Percy nodded with a smile. Then they put their plan into effect.
"Grappin?!" she screeched.
"Michelle?" he gasped.
Chauvelin came running to the door. "Grappin, what are you doing here?"
Grappin was too amazed to see Michelle to reply. "I thought I'd never see you again, my dear. I *never* expected to see you here with Chauvelin. I thought you feared him."
"You confuse fear with love, Grappin," she replied icily, taking Chauvelin's arm. "I have found a real man in a man of the Republic, not a lowly Belgian spy."
"I am one of the best in the business!" Grappin pointed out.
"You're too poor to support me, Grappin, how can you expect me to be happy! You were never at home! I was always stranded at home worrying about you being over in England tracking down that disgusting, hideous, Pimpernel!"
Lark met Percy's eyes with an angry stare. He glared back at her.
He pleaded, "I promise change!"
"You don't intend to keep that promise," she shot back.
"You broke my heart!" Grappin exclaimed.
"You broke mine," she snapped. "You promised so much!"
The battle continued...
Duncan griped his rifle and thought frantically.
"I think a first step would be to find out where the other guards are stationed," Andrew suggested.
MacLeod tapped him on the shoulder. "Brilliant!" He turned to Lark's brother. "Christopher, circle the jail and see how many guards are stationed outside and how alert they are. Some of these men have been out all night."
He turned to Ffoulkes.
"Andrew, go inside. Count the guards and test their alertness, but do not let your fellow Leaguers know you are there."
Duncan paused. "Is all understood?"
His companions nodded and headed where they had been assigned. Duncan waited, a bit nervous, until they both returned: Andrew first, then Chris.
Andrew reported, "There are four guards inside, one alert, 2 semi-alert, one far from alert."
Chris said, "Four guards, all semi-alert. This isn't going to be easy, Mr. MacLeod."
"No kidding, Duncan mumbled. "I'm open to any suggestions."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Grappin accused, "There's nothing the Citizen has that I don't!"
His 'wife' replied, "Don't make me list the ways, Grappin!"
"Oh please!" exclaimed the Belgian, throwing his arms into the air. "That I do *not* believe!"
"Well, believe it," she sneered, "I'll never go back to your bed--ever!"
"You lie. this liasion will not last."
Lark grabbed Chauvelin around the waist. "Don't curse our relationship."
"I won't need to," Grappin snapped, "you'll curse it on your own."
Chauvelin sighed. Married people.......
Duncan was still waiting for a suggestion.
"If only we could get our hands on a bottle of liquor..." Andrew mumbled.
"Why?" asked Duncan, "why a bottle of liquor?"
"I have a small supply of this compound Percy concocted. It's a *very* small amount, but the compound will put a person to sleep in a matter of minutes." He glanced at Duncan. "If we could put all the guards to sleep...."
Duncan grinned and patted Andrew on the back. "You bounders never cease to amaze me."
He pulled a flask from inside his jacket. "Always be prepared."
Andrew took the flask and removed a tiny package from his own pocket. He poured the white powdered contents into the flask, screwed the top back on, and shook it up. He then handed the flask to Christopher.
Christopher put the flask in his jacket with a grin. "It's nap time."
"Look, Grappin, why don't you just leave?"
"I'm not going anywhere."
"I want you to leave!"
"Well, I don't *wanna* leave."
"You're just getting in the way!"
"Good, I'm glad!"
Chauvelin sighed again.
Christopher emerged from within the jail, a devilish grin on his face. He had already gone around the perimeter of the building and had persuaded every last guard to take a swig from Duncan's flask.
"Success," he reported, handing back the flask. "How fast before they're asleep?"
Duncan put the container back in his jacket, and Andrew responded, "About five minutes. Before we take any action, we must be sure they are *all* out cold."
"Of course," Duncan replied. they stood silently in the early afternoon sun, watching a few people hurry by, their eyes to the ground.
"Not many people out," Chris commented quietly.
"Many people are afraid to come out," Andrew replied, "They're afraid of the guillotine. So many have been slaughtered already."
"What if the solution doesn't work on all of them?" Duncan question.
"Don't worry," replied Andrew. "It'll work. It'll work."
"Well," sighed Chris, checking the time, "we'll soon find out for sure."
"I said *leave*!"
"Well, I said *no*!"
Chauvelin felt he should step in, but he was worried he would just be silenced and make it all worse.
"I wouldn't go back with you, if you were the richest man in Belgium!" Michelle declared.
"Why not? Why do you hate me so much all of the sudden?" Grappin demanded.
"You disgust me," she spat. "I cannot withstand your presence."
"What a soap opera..." Chauvelin mumbled.
Christopher checked around the jail, while Andrew glanced inside.
"They're all asleep inside," Andrew reported back.
Chris came jogging back. "Success."
"Yes," grinned Duncan, clenching his fist in triumph. "My idea it that we go inside, free them, and let them escape one by one out the back and front doors in 1 1/2 minute intervals."
"Good idea," Andrew agreed. "Let's do it."
The three liberators strolled into the jail, and Chris removed the keys from the belt of one of the guards.
"How long will they sleep?" Duncan whispered to Andrew.
"About an hour or two," Andrew whispered back.
Chris opened all the cells, after indicating for everyone to be quiet.
Andrew motioned for Dewhurst, Ozzy, and Hastings to come forward. After he told them Duncan's plan, he turned back to Duncan.
"Ok, Mr. MacLeod, we're ready. The only problem is....we have to do this in less than 10 minutes."
"Send them 2 at a time," Duncan decided. "Let's get moving."
The insults were running low. Lark didn't know how much longer she and Percy could keep this up.
"Why won't you just accept the fact that I don't love you anymore?" Lark asked, close to tears. "Haven't I made it clear enough?"
"I'll never accept it as long as I live, Michelle. Never."
Lark burst into tears. "Leave me along! Leave me alone! your presence makes me ill!"
Before Grappin could reply, Chauvelin broke in.
"Grappin, I have been listening to you two fight for..." he checked the time. "An hour!? I have to go!!" He pushed Grappin out of the way and ran towards the jail.
"There's something I thought I'd never see," Percy commented. "Run, Chauvelin, run!"
"Let's go," sighed Lark, taking a prewritten note out of her pocket and placing it on the floor just inside the house. She shut the door and she and the Scarlet Pimpernel went their separate ways towards the hideout.
Chauvelin ran at top speed towards the jail. When he got there, all he found were empty cells, and guards who were fast asleep.
"WHAT IS THE EXPLANATION FOR THIS!?" roared the citizen.
None of the guards moved even the slightest degree. "WAKE UP!" Chauvelin yelled, violently kicking one of the guards. The man only slightly moved.
Chauvelin was so stunned and so upset that he sank to his knees, head in his hands. He wanted to sob and scream and kill something all at once.
"I'll get the League back...." he declared, rising back to his feet. "I must!" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Percy and Lark were very happy to see the other League members safe and sound back at the hide out.
"I see you figured out something," Percy said proudly, going over to Andrew, Duncan and Christopher.
"I see your marital dispute worked out," said Andrew. "Chauvelin was nowhere in sight at any point."
"Well, Miss Wingfield and I put on quite a show," Percy revealed to them.
"Chauvelin was quite upset when he saw the time," Lark added. "You should have seen him run!"
"This calls for a celebration!" Duncan called out, reaching for his flask and pulling off the cap. He went to take a sip....
"Duncan, no!!"
Epilogue-- Chauvelin went back home, dragging his feet. He hoped Michelle had gotten rid of Grappin and that she was still there, waiting eagerly for him to return.
"Michelle?" he called, stepping inside. "Mich--" he looked down as he heard the crinkle of paper under his foot. Curiously, he bent down, picked it up, and opened it. It read:

				I thought maybe you were the man I had been 
searching for all my life. Sadly, I was once again mistaken. Any man who runs away
without warning is not a man I can trust.
I don't think we should see each other any longer.
To think what we could have had....it is
sad, Chauvelin, if you feel you still want me, I have only this to say.
Frankly, Chauvie, I don't give a damn.

"She'll come back," he mumbled to himself. "The League is gone, but this will not last. She'll change her mind tomorrow, and the League will be captured again. Tomorrow I'll think of a way to get them all back. After all, tomorrow is another day!"

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