Miss Lark Wingfield's Story
The first thought that flashed through Lark Wingfield's mind was, 'a trap? How could they have known?'
She immediately recognized the figure as a French soldier, brandishing his sharpened rapier as though it were his new toy.
The child laughed, and the soldier seized Lark by a chunk of her cloak and pulled her roughly towards him.
"What's going on here?" Lark demanded. "What are you doing?"
The child held out his greasy little hand to the soldier. "You promised me money."
With a grunt, the soldier dropped a coin into the boy's grasp.
The child, content with his prize, scurried off into the darkened ally way.
"What is the meaning of this?" Lark again questioned, struggling to free her cloak from the hands of the soldier. "I assure you, sir. I have done nothing at all wrong."
"I beg to differ, Madame," grunted the soldier. "Very reliable sources suspect you to be a member of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel."
"The Scarlet Pimpernel!" exclaimed the young woman with an inane laugh. "How utterly ridiculous! I am here in Paris to visit cousins!"
Between the darkness and the presence of her unruly black curls hovering over her eyes, she could barely see a thing.
"Lies," spat the soldier. "A spy saw you and a Lady Eliza Hastings check into a Paris hotel alone. A bit curious, don't you think, two wealthy English ladies travelling alone to a strange country?"
"Not at all," Lark answered evenly. "It's a changing world. A lady no longer needs an escort when going to visit family."
"Explain that to Citizen Chauvelin," replied the humorless soldier.
'This is grand,' thought Lark as the soldier quite roughly led her through the dark, empty streets of Paris. 'My first time on French soil and I'm captured already.'
They entered a building that was lit only by flickers of candlelight. The soldier unexpectedly shoved her forward so roughly that she nearly fell to the floor. Regaining her balance, she removed the hood of her navy blue cloak and nervously glanced up into the eyes of Chauvelin.
Startled, she backed up. His appearance was unsettling. All that black in one place...
"Miss Lark Wingfield, now this is a pleasure."
His voice was cold and as unsettling as his appearance. She struggled to hold her ground and hide her fear. How did he know her name? Had see been followed before she even crossed the channel?
"What is it you wish to know, Chauvelin? As I already told your soldier before, my business here is strictly to visit family."
His laugh, as expected, was as unsettling as all his features.
"Family indeed, Miss Wingfield. Do you honestly think I know so little about you that I would actually believe that?" He took a menacing step towards her.
"Now, Lark, if you please. I am willing to let you go if you reveal to me who exactly this mysterious 'Scarlet Pimpernel' is."
Insisted Lark, "I assure you that I am NOT a member of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Odds life, but perhaps you are mistaken, M'sieu Chauvelin."
"I am not mistaken!" Chauvelin yelled with such force it made Lark jump. "If you are not a member of the League, Madame, what were you REALLY doing in Paris without an escort?"
Knowing this was her chance of escape, Lark suddenly burst into tears. "Oh, I had hoped I wouldn't have to reveal my actual reason for travelling to Paris, M'sieu Chauvelin, but you leave me no other choice!"
Chauvelin's lips curled into a sinister grin. "Please go on, Madame."
Sobbed the young woman, "I came for the frou-frou."
The smile from Chauvelin's face suddenly vanished.
"Pardon me, did you say 'frou-frou'?"
"Yes! Frou-frou! Frills and such. My father detests my passion for it so, but he just does not seem to understand that I simply cannot do without it!" Lark sobbed pathetically into her hands, inwardly praying Chauvelin would buy the act.
"Oh," Chauvelin scowled, clearly disappointed. "If that's all then. You may go."
Lark curtseyed, still crying, and exited the same way she came in. She was late meeting Lady Hastings.
Quickly she hurried for the Place de la Greve,, wiping the tears from her face. She immediately spotted Lady Hastings waiting in the shadows. "Sorry I am late," Lark apologized, "I was a bit...delayed."
"That's quite alright," pardoned Lady Hastings, "but try and be on time in the future."
She paused. "So Miss Wingfield, what do you think of Paris thus far?"
"Well, I do think the people could be a bit friendlier," Lark responded with a bit of a smile. "But I do think I'll do just fine nonetheless."
She pulled her hood back up over her curly black hair and followed Lady Hastings into a nearby tavern. There were crucial plans to discuss. After all, the lives of many innocent French folk hung in the balance.
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