Chapter Twelve

Johanna reached the top some time before the two men. "Nelson!" she called quickly, searching amongst the suspended walkways for him.

"Johanna? What are you doing here?" he asked, moving from his hiding place to peer down at her.

"Following you," she said, hurrying to the precarious staircase to reach him.

"No, you need to leave," Nelson said seriously, gazing at her with worried eyes.

"I am not leaving you, Nelson," Johanna replied seriously, squeezing his hand.

"Marry me," he said, his words popping out of his mouth before he had even thought of a response.

"What?" she asked, laughing slightly in disbelief.

"Marry me," he said, deciding to go with what he had said. What better time than now?'

Johanna met his eyes and said, "Yes."

Unfortunately, that was the time when the other two men reached the top. Their presence was announced by Roy calling angrily, "Show your face, Rathbone!"

Soon after, the two split up, though neither Nelson nor Johanna could fathom why. As the two began to search, Roy called out, "Hey, Rathbone! I was thinkin' of a title for my new book: Roy O'Bannon vs. Little Lord Sissy."

Johanna could see the annoyance on his face as he snuck up behind the American. Chon spotted him and cried out in warning, but not quickly enough. Johanna turned away as Rathbone kicked Roy through the glass of the clock face.

"Roy!" Chon shouted in distress.

"Oops," Rathbone taunted.

Chon quickly grabbed a nearby rope and used it to climb up the scaffolding to Rathbone. As he did, Rathbone said, "Come on up! I'll show you how your father died!"

Chon reached the same walkway and ran at Rathbone. The lord quickly picked up Roy's blade and used it to fight with two swords to Chon's one. It quickly became evident to all three of them that Rathbone was by far the better swordsman.

After a rather short time, Chon fell off the walkway only to grab the rope that served as the railing. Rathbone cut it, smirking as he looked down at his adversary. "Come along. I'm waiting," he taunted.

As Chon dangled from the rope, he looked up and spotted Johanna standing behind Rathbone. "Help me," he pleaded, looking her in the eyes.

She turned to fully face him and slowly shook her head.

"What did you do to her?" Chon demanded indignantly, seeing the inner battle raging in her eyes.

"Nothing. She chose this. She chose me. How does that make you feel?"

Chon gritted his teeth as he climbed back up to the platform. Rathbone allowed him to pick up his sword, waiting for him to make the first move. He certainly did, attacking quickly and angrily as he let his emotions flow. His anger and jealousy led to his increased attacks to the lord whilst his sorrow made him sloppier in his defensive moves.

In the midst of their fight, he suddenly lunged at the lord. He missed, but did not notice how badly so until he pulled his sword away. It was stained red. In the midst of their fight, they had backed up again. He had stabbed Johanna.

Chon stared at the blade in horror. Rathbone was perplexed by this expression until he heard a gasp of pain from behind him. He glanced down at Chon's sword, stained with the blood of that so precious person behind him. Rathbone let out an animalistic cry of fury and attacked in a berserker rage. He did not toy with the Chinaman anymore. He wanted this man dead. Within seconds, he had knocked the man out the clock face to follow his friend, a fitting end to this ill-fated fight.

Only then, did he turn to look. Johanna laid on the walkway. Her hands covered the wound in her side, attempting to slow the blood loss.

"Johanna? Johanna!" Nelson cried, rushing to his love.

"I'll be fine, Nelson. It's not serious, just a flesh wound," she assured him, already attempting to stand up.

Nelson would have none of it. He swooped her up into his arms and carried her easily down the many staircases of Big Ben.

"Nelson! Put me down! I can still walk!" she protested for only a little while. His firm silence told her this was not debateable. He would not allow her to walk in her condition. As he brought her to a doctor, Johanna snuggled into her fiance's warmth as well as she could considering the wound in her side.