By Lisa A. Prusok
Cat went ahead of the two. She had to make her appearance as part of the royal court.
When Robin and Little John got to the large formal chamber, they could see her standing by the Queenís chair in a black velvet floor length hooded cloak. She was like a miniature adult next to the royal family and everyone else in the room for that matter.
Robin and John were escorted in front of the King, Queen and Princess. Both men bowed.
"Please rise," King Dirk ordered.
Robin and John stood up. Robin tried to stand up more, but there just wasnít enough of him. Then he just decided to let it go. He wasnít going to grow any more or change. Besides, he liked himself just as he was. It no longer bothered him that he was so small compared to these people. That was okay with him. Robin felt better now that he had made peace with himself.
Queen Clover rose from her throne and walked over to Robin. She placed her hands on his shoulders and leaned forward. She kissed him on the forehead. "Thank you so much for saving my daughterís life. We are indebted to you."
"It was my pleasure your Highness. Iím just glad that I was there to be of help."
King Dirk also rose from his throne. He walked up to Robin and held out his hand to him.
Robin took the hand and felt a very firm, very warm hand shake.
"Thank you son. As my Queen said, we are indebted to you. We have discovered what kind of man you are from your friend. Our servants have relayed his stories of you to us. We feel that the law is a just one and can be carried out with our blessings."
"Yes. I agree with my husband. You are a fine man. I can see no reason for the law not to be carried out," the Queen agreed.
Robin felt a lump in his stomach, "I donít understand. Have we broken some sort of law. If we have, we are deeply sorry for we did not know," he said as he tried to be as diplomatic as he could.
King Dirk laughed a hearty laugh and patted Robin and John on the shoulders, "Not at all! You have broken no law. The law that we speak of is when one person saves anotherís life."
"I beg your Highnessís pardon, but would you please explain this law to us." Robin asked politely.
"Of course son."
Robin kept cringing at the word Ďsoní. There was just something that gave him a chill up his spine when he said it.
"When one person saves another persons life, that person belongs to them. To put it plainly, my daughter, Her royal Highness Princess Chrysophine belongs to you. You will be wed in a week."
Robinís mouth dropped open. So did Little Johnís. Although John recovered more quickly than Robin and found great humor in the situation.
Robin finally found his tongue, "Your Highness, I..."
He was interrupted, "Daddy! No! I donít want to marry him! No offense," she said turning to Robin.
Robin waved his hands, "None taken."
"It is the law Chrys. It must be obeyed," King Dirk said firmly.
"But Daddy! I donít love him." Chrys looked Robin from head to toe. "Heís really cute but, heís so slender, frail and petite. How can I marry him?"
Robin just thought to himself, "There goes my ego. Right out the window."
"I agree your Highness. She needs a husband who is very big, strong and can take care of her," Robin pointed out.
"Robin Hood, you have already proven that you have the strength and courage to protect our daughter," Queen Clover told him.
"But Mother I donít love him," Chrys pleaded.
"You can learn to love. He is a fine looking man. Yes he is on the tiny side, but look at that handsome face. The way he holds himself tells me that he has a very good background. Robin, are you of royal blood?" Queen Clover asked.
Robin wanted to lie, but he just couldnít. He knew that they had no idea who he really was and it would not make a difference. He finally answered with a bow, "Yes your Highness, I am the Earl of Locksley."
John was a just a bit surprised at those words. He had never heard Robin refer to himself that way. He stood back a little and really saw Robin in a different light. Robin really was an Earl! At this moment in time, John saw him as an Earl too.
King Dirk clapped his hands, "I knew it! I could feel that you were of royal blood. My Queen, we have chosen well!"
"But Daddy, that doesnít change the fact that I donít love him. I donít care if he is a king! No offense," she said to Robin again.
"None taken your Highness."
"You will marry him and that is final! It is the law!" King Dirkís voice echoed in the room it was so loud.
There were two men standing on each side of the throne. They were the largest men that either John or Robin had ever seen. They were the Kingís knights. They were the ones who had attacked them in the forest. Unbeknownst to Robin, one of them had been growing angrier and angrier with each word. It was Ivor. His eyes were now just slits that were filled with hatred for Robin. He was the one that was in love with the Princess. He was the one that was going to marry her. Not this puny man. The supposed Earl of something. He would not stand for this too much longer.
"Your Highnesses, I am very flattered that you would consider me as a suitor for your daughter. But I am not from around here. I have a life a great distance from here. I also love another. No offense," he said to the Princess.
"None taken. Listen to him. He said he loves someone else."
"Are you married to the woman you love Earl?" Queen Clover asked.
"I....I..." he stuttered. His life with Marion flashed before his eyes in a second. He wanted to be, but he just hadnít married her yet. "I am not," he said with sadness in his voice.
"Then you are not taken. You will be married in a week," King Dirk decreed.
"Daddy No!" she said as she ran to her motherís arms.
That was all that Ivor was going to take. If the King would not listen, then he would make sure that Robin was in no condition to marry anyone.
Ivor ran full force at Robin and hit him in the stomach with his shoulder.
The wind was knocked out of Robin and he doubled over.
Ivor lifted Robin up on to his shoulder and shoved him up against the stone wall. He held him two feet off of the ground with his shoulder and took his other hand and grabbed Robin by the throat. He shoved Robinís head back against the wall with a loud crack. Then he began to slowly increase the pressure on Robinís long neck.
Robin had not been able to catch his breath before his body hit the wall. Then when his head hit the stone, bright stars danced before his eyes. Now there was no chance for him to breath at all because the hand was cutting his air off. The bright stars began to dim as darkness took over his vision. He took a hold of the manís hand at his throat and his arm. Robin tried with what strength was left to pull them from him. He just didnít have the strength. His world was closing in so quickly that Robin didnít have time for a single thought. Darkness claimed his mind as his body went limp in Ivorís hands. Robinís hands released their grip and fell to dangle at his sides.
The three other knights, John, the King, and the Princess all ran over to try to aid Robin. The Princess screamed, "Ivor let him go! Get off of him! It is you I love and you that I will marry!"
The King began barking orders, "Ivor, release him or you will be punished. Knights, get him off of that man!"
The three knights and Little John all pulled together and got Ivor to release Robinís body. Once the pressure was off, Robinís body dropped to the floor with a thud. Little John was by his side a split second later.
"If youíve killed him, I will kill you," John threatened Ivor. He turned his attention back to Robin. John carefully eased him down to lie on the floor. Robinís neck was one big red welt. John placed his fingers to his throat and thanked God that he found a pulse. He slipped his hand around to the back of Robinís head and felt a big bump coming up. Checking his hand he was relieved that there was no blood.
Robin started to come to. He took in a great breath and began coughing. This made his head hurt worse. With Little Johnís help, he stood up. Robin was glad that Little John held on to his arm to steady him. He was not too sure on his feet just yet. "What happened?" he coughed out.
"Ivor just tried to kill you," John said giving Ivor a deadly look.
"Why?" Robin asked.
"It is because I am to be the one to marry the Princess. Not this puny one," Ivor said as he struggled in his fellow knights arms.
"Would everyone one please stop calling me names!" Robin yelled, then regretted it because it made his head hurt.
"Daddy, this is the man that I love," Chrys said running to Ivorís side.
"I will not have it Chrys. You will marry the Earl of Locksley in one week," King Dirk ordered.
"But Daddy...." Chrys whined.
"Your Highness, if I were to marry your daughter, I would take her away from here. I cannot leave my life. It is too important to me," Robin tried to reason with him.
"Oh Dirk, he would take her from us," Queen Clover said with sadness.
"It would be good for her. She needs to get out more to see the world," King Dirk reasoned.
Robin let his chin fall to his chest. When he did he said "Ouch", his neck was still sore. There was just no reasoning with this man. What was he going to do?
Catrina stood back and had watched everything that was going on. She knew that she could save Robin. She just hoped that he would understand and play along.
"Lover! Iím so glad that you are all right!" she yelled as she ran into Robinís arms.
Robin was just a little slow this time.
"Lover you had me so scared!" she said as she took his face in her hands and kissed him long and deep.
When she let go, "Cat...I..," Robin stuttered.
Cat went up on tip-toes and whispered in his ear, "Play along if you donít want to be married."
Robin now understood. "Yes my love, I am fine," he said as he tilted her head and gave her a Ďtwo-lipped, full treatmentí kiss.
When he ended the kiss, he had to hold Cat up in his arms so she wouldnít fall down.
Cat was a little dizzy and only whispered the word "WOW!"
"This is the woman you love?" the King asked confused.
"Yes. I tell the truth when I say that I call her my Lover," Robin stated.
"He is my Lover your Highness. Please do not take him from me," Cat pleaded.
"Why did you not come forward before Catrina?" Queen Clover asked.
"I was afraid for my job. Robin and I agreed to keep our love a secret so I could keep my job," she made up.
"Is this true Earl?" King Dirk asked.
"It is true that our being Lovers has been a secret. I would not want to take Cat from a job that she enjoys," he said and thought that he skirted the question very nicely without lying.
"Please your Highness, donít take my Lover away from me. It would break my heart." Cat did not have to act then. It would break her heart if anything happened to Robin, especially marriage to Chrys.
"Please Dirk, we cannot separate these two. It would be wrong," Queen Clover also pleaded with the King.
Finally his eyes softened, "All right. I withdraw my decree," he said giving in.
Everyone was so happy and smiled.
"Well son I just gave you your woman back, arenít you going to kiss her?" King Dirk questioned Robin.
"Well I..."Robin stuttered.
"Yes Lover, arenít you going to kiss me?" Cat looked into his brown eyes with eagerness.
"I order it so!" King Dirk said with force.
"Canít go against the Kingís orders Robin," Cat said as she looked expectantly at his mouth.
"No I guess I canít go against a Kingís orders," Robin said as he raised his eyebrow and looked down at Catís impatient face.
Then Robin whispered to her, "If I didnít know better, I would say that you had this planned."
"Who Me?" she asked with the innocence of a doe. "The King is waiting, Lover."
Robin thought, "Okay. She has once again saved my life. If she wants a kiss then Iím going to give her a kiss. Her grandchildrenís grandchildren will talk about this kiss."
Robin pulled her tightly to his body. He had one arm around her waist and the other arm around her shoulders. He moved his mouth to hers and just let his lips barely touch her lips. Then he whispered, "No, I canít keep the King waiting. You want this, you got it!"
He tilted Catrina back into his arms so her upper body was horizontal. He looked down on her face and deeply into her eyes as he held her suspended above the floor.
"Oh Robin," Cat breathed softly.
Robin let his full sensual lips just graze hers. He let his lips caress hers as he used the tip of his tongue to moisten them. When he knew she was more than ready, he pushed his mouth against hers fully and completely. Robin made sure that she got a long, luxuriant taste of him. As he started to pull her out of his kiss, he felt her body go dead weight in his arms.
Robin looked at her face and had the hardest time keeping a straight face. He had never caused a woman to faint before. They had swooned before but never into a state of unconsciousness. This was a first and did wonders for his ego.
"Is she all right son?" the King asked worried.
"Sheíll be fine," Robin said trying not to laugh as he lifted her into his arms.
"Gee Daddy, Iíve never seen a man do that to a woman. Maybe I was wrong..." Chrys started to reconsider.
"I beg your leave your Highnesses," Robin asked politely.
"Yes of course son. Go take care of her," the King said just looking at Robin.
Before Robin and Little John had gotten out of ear shot, Queen Clover went up to her husband, "Dear, I donít suppose you could have that young man teach you how to do that?"
The King looked at her and just raised his eyebrows.
Robin started laughing and didnít stop until they reached their room.
Once inside their bedroom, Robin put Catrina down on the bed.
"Uh Robin, what just happened?"
Robin chuckled, "Cat just saved me from marriage to the Princess."
"Yeah but what was all of that about you guys being lovers?" John asked very confused.
"It is an innocent nickname that we have for each other. It doesnít have anything to do with the love that I have for Marion. Cat is just a very special friend to me. We love each other, but..." Robin stopped. He couldnít think of the right words.
"But what Robin?" John urged him to continue.
"Well, itís a little bit like the way that I love you my friend. I donít think that I could be any closer to another person. I donít even love my half-brother as much as I love you. Do you understand?"
"I think so. There are just a lot of different kinds of love and some times they donít have anything to do with true love like you have with Marion."
Their attention was turned to the bed, when Cat let out a moan.
"Oh my head! What happened?" she asked as she sat up. Her head was still buzzing.
"You fainted," Little John told her.
"Thatís not right. I donít faint," she said shaking her head a bit to clear it.
"You do now," Robin said smiling his most dashing smile at her.
Cat looked up at him, "You! What did you do to me!?"
"You wanted a kiss and thatís what I gave you," he told her flatly.
"That couldnít be all. Did you use some sort of magic?" she asked a little angry.
"No... well if you call my charm magic..." he smiled again.
"Very funny! All right! You got me! You taught me a lesson. I donít think I want to play with you any more. You play to rough," she said rubbing her head.
Robin and John just laughed at her.
"You realize that I am going to have to go with you when you leave, donít you," Cat told Robin.
Robin thought about it for a moment. "Youíre right. What about your job here?"
"Easy come easy go. There are plenty of jobs out there. No matter," she said as she hopped off of the bed.
Robin reached out his arm to steady her as she swayed just a little bit.
Cat looked at the hand on her arm, "I donít know if I even want you touching me. Youíre a lethal weapon!"
All three of them laughed.
It was the next day that they headed home to Sherwood with Cat in tow. They would have stories to tell around the campfire for quite a while.
PS. Chrys and Ivor were married within a week! Congratulations to the
bride and groom!
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