A tip had reached Chauvelin that an aristocrat was hiding in an empty house near the harbour; awaiting rescue from the Scarlet Pimpernel. He’d reached the house, and now sat watch in a dark corner of the street.
All previous attempts at catching the Pimpernel had failed. It didn’t matter whether Chauvelin brought five or fifty men for the result remained the same. The Pimpernel and his gang remained elusive. Though this time, Chauvelin would catch him. This time he’d do it alone. If fifty men couldn’t catch one man, then perhaps one man was all it took to arrest him. One man is smaller and more nimble than a battalion of men.
After standing watch for a half hour he crossed the street and nimbly entered the house through a side window. It was dark inside. He had entered the kitchen, and all around him were signs of people staying here temporarily; unwashed dishes were cluttered all around the kitchen. There was a door to the right, and a light came through the door chink. Voices could be heard from the other side. Chauvelin was tense in high-alert; aware that any sound could give him away. He crept closer to the door, and looked through the tiny spring. He could see three shapes moving about on the other side. There didn’t seem to be any more by the sound of the voices. It looked like they were preparing to leave.
Chauvelin silently drew his sword. He hadn’t brought a gun, because it would be useless in close-quarters. The element of surprise was all he had on his side. Carefully he closed his hand around the doorknob, slowly opened the lock and threw open the door.
The occupants inside tensed in shock at his entrance, then one of the men blew out the only light in the room. It fell into darkness. Chauvelin hadn’t had the time see their faces, it all happened too quickly. He heard, rather than saw, how two of the traitors ran toward a door. He went after them, but a hand grabbed him from behind. He struggled against the other man’s grasp, and manged to twist himself out. He turned around to face his assailant and forced him back againast a wall with his sword. Obviously the man was unarmed.
”One move, or I’ll cut your throat”, hissed Chauvelin, and his captive went still. The other two men were long gone. All that could be heard in house were his own and the captured man’s breathing. He was a bit annoyed that the other men had escaped, but he had managed to capture one traitor. ”Who were the other two?”
”My men”, answered his captive.
”Are you the Pimpernel?” asked Chauvelin excitedly.
After a moment of silence, there came an assured answer: ”Yes.”
Chauvelin felt how a smile crept up his face, even though his nemesis couldn’t see it in the darkness. He had never felt this jubilant before. He wanted to show off his success to the world. He had finally caught the Pimpernel. There was so much he wanted to do, but there was only thing he desired the most right now.
”I want see your face, Pimpernel, and finally know who you are” whispered Chauvelin vehemently.
”Well, if you want to see my face you’ll need that lamp. If you try to move me from this wall toward the lamp I’ll overpower you”, said the Pimpernel matter-of-factly. It grated Chauvelin to hear the superiority in his voice. He’d show the bastard he could do it.
”We shall see, Pimpernel”, he answered and began pushing the Pimpernel with one hand while keeping the sword at his throat. He slowly manouvered him toward where he thought the lamp was. Everything went well, until he stumbled. All of a sudden he was shoved up against a wall with a sword at his neck. Chauvelin cursed silently to himself for botching this up.
”You should watch your step”, whispered the Pimpernel, with a smile in his voice. His breath ghosted against Chauvelin’s face. He could only see the Pimpernels shape in the darkness, but he could feel his warm body just an inch away from his body. ”Why didn’t you kill me when you had the chance?”
”Why did you reveal yourself as the Pimpernel?”, retorted Chauvelin a bit breathlessly.
The conversation between them ceased. He tensed when felt a hand touch his face. Everything suddenly seemed to go much slower than before. The hand traced the contours of his face, then it touched his eyebrows, his nose, and then finally settling on his mouth. Chauvelin tried to swallow his tension away. The hand was replaced by lips against his. A gasp escaped from him. His tension melted away, and he clutched the Pimpernel’s jacket to make sure this moment never broke.
Chauvelin dimly heard something clatter to the floor, but he was too preoccupied by the Pimpernel embracing him and deepening the kiss.