Groggy, and feeling like his head was stuffed with hay, Robin slowly woke. He opened his eyes to see fuzzy outlines of the top of the tent, and heard men talking close by. Quickly remembering where he was and what had happened, he slowly turned his head to face the voices.
"Ah, I see you have decided to join us." A tall, slender, balding man walked toward Robin. Robin immediately recognized the voice. This was the man named Sims. Deciding to continue the charade for as long as he could. he asked, "How long have I been out?" Please, Robin almost grinned as he remembered to speak in that strong accent of Jacobi's.
"Since they brought you in - yesterday." Sims replied, "Now, let's have another look at that arm, shall we?"
Robin groaned as Sims carefully unwrapped the bandages, then examined the gash. The blood had stuck the bandage to his arm, and it hurt when Sims pulled it free.
The healer looked at Robin and smiled. "The bleeding has mostly stopped. You'll be fine, as long as infection doesn't set in."
Robin smiled in return, sensing this man was not like the others. "Thank you," he said sincerely.
"Your welcome," Sims replied, looking at him very strangely. "Now, will you tell what your name is, young man?"
"Jacobi," Robin replied casually.
"Have you really killed as many men as they say you have?" Sims asked, watching Robin's eyes.
"We'll have to discuss that some other time," Robin replied with an evil grin.
Sims didn't have a chance to continue the discussion, for at that moment, the tent flap was pulled back, and the Captain entered. "You're awake!" He grinned nastily. "Good!"
"And who are you to be asking," Robin smirked, drawling out the accent.
"The man who is going to control your life," the Captain replied firmly.
"I control my own life!"
The Captain slipped his sword free, pushing Robin's head back with the tip of his sword, pressing it against his throat.
"You will follow my instructions, or I will end your miserable life right here and now." The captain said, firmly moving the tip of the sword just enough to draw a drop of blood from Robin's throat.
Robin didn't flinch when the cut was made - he just started laughing. "I don't think so, Captain. You wouldn't have gone through so much trouble to bring me here, doctoring me up and all, if you intended to kill me. You need me." Robin replied, still laughing.
"By God, you ARE as tough as they say," the Captain was now laughing, too. He seated himself on a nearby stool, and began talking to Robin as if he were a friend.
"How long will it be, Jacobi, until you can swing a sword?" The captain asked casually.
Unconsciously reaching for his arm, Robin squinted at it and replied, "A couple of days, and I should be good."
"Excellent! Then we can begin!"
"Begin what? What exactly are we supposed to do?"
"Didn't they tell you? We're going to capture the infamous Robin Hood." The captain chuckled at the look on Robin's face, slapped him on the back, and left the tent.
The sun was just dipping below the Mountain range when Jacobi rode back into camp. Marion watched him dismount his horse and heaved a sigh of relief. He had returned. She was glad, because she didn't want to have to go out and look for him. She watched as he went into his hut and within minutes, exited again, this time with his face washed and his hair arranged neatly. She busied herself by the cook tent with dishes so he wouldn't think she was waiting for him as she noticed he was walking straight toward her.
"Got to think quickly," she said to herself. Looking up at him, she gave him a dirty look. "Listen Robin, if you've come to apologize, don't bother. We've been through this too many times already. When will you realize we are just friends!"
"Marion . . . "
"Okay! Okay, you're forgiven." Marion cut Jacobi off before he could say anything. "Now can you give me a hand?"
Jacobi idly picked up a dish, then put it back down.
"Listen Marion," he said. "I need to get some of the gold we've stashed."
So THAT was what this was all about. Gold! For a brief moment Marion panicked. Maybe this stranger had KILLED Robin so he could replace him and find the gold they hid at the camp. Forcing herself to calm down, she looked at him innocently. "What? I don't understand," Marion said, acting like she hadn't heard him right.
"I ran into this family on my way back from the pond, and they need some coin for food. I thought I'd help 'em out." Jacobi's accent seemed more pronounced as his nervousness showed.
Marion decided to try and bide her time. "Robin, you know they'll be well cared for during one of the distribution runs," she responded, looking away from him.
"They are starving now," Jacobi replied, a bit more firmly.
Thinking quickly, Marion smiled. "Okay Robin, go ahead and help them now. You're the only one who knows where the gold is hidden, anyway." Marion chuckled softly at the look in Jacobi's eyes, deciding to push that lie a little further. "It was a good decision, that was. Now no one can ever hurt us to get that information. None of us know it!"
Jacobi glared at her, muttered something under his breath, then spun around and walked back to Robin's hut.
Marion sat down quickly, rubbing her eyes. If this is about money, she
decided, she would need Tuck and Little John's help after all. Lying to
him now made him a desperate man, and she knew if Robin was his prisoner,
it would only be a matter of time before he killed him, if he hadn't already.
Robin would never tell where the gold was hidden - not even to save his
The next day passed rather uneventfully for Robin. He rested comfortably enough in the tent, being fed well, and everyone waiting on him, hand and foot. Sims checked in on him every hour, but he saw nothing more of the Captain. Not wanting to cast any suspicion on himself, he acted like the wounded victim, and just listened as closely as he could to anyone talking outside the tent. The only significant conversation he was able to pick up on, was between two soldiers, discussing how they were going to lure this Robin Hood out into the open.
"Do we get to keep what we loot from Eastwick when we torch the buildings?"
"I've heard nothing to the contrary."
"When Robin Hood hears about what we do to the women and children of that village, he'll come to defend them, straight away."
"And then he'll be ours, eh?" Both soldiers laughed.
"They says this Jacobi fellow is a dead ringer for Robin Hood," one of them continued.
"Yep, they say there's no telling them apart!"
"So we'll be getting the reward money, and like the Captain says, we'll also be getting all the gold Robin has stashed away for the poor."
"Yeah, while we're killing Robin, Jacobi will be strolling about that camp without any resistance. Easy as pie."
They both laughed merrily, and Robin could hear them walking away. He was listening so intently, he didn't notice Sims had slipped in to check on him again and was just standing there, watching him.
"Who are you, exactly?" he asked Robin bluntly.
Robin jumped at the unexpected appearance of his doctor, then smiled. "Who do you think I am?"
Quietly, Sims replied, "Well, I donít think your Jacobi."
The smile disappeared from Robin's lips as he studied Sims eyes. "You don't belong here either, do you?" Robin said, dropping the accent.
"I'm as much their prisoner as you are, Robin Hood." Sims replied softly, looking up from the floor.
Robin heaved a sigh of relief as he glanced quickly toward the door. "It's okay. No one followed me here," Sims told him.
"Then, can I count on you to help me?"
"If you can guarantee my freedom," Sims replied.
"I can guarantee nothing but my help. What have you been accused of?"
"Murdering my sister-in-law," Sims' eyes were sad. "Truth be told, I just happened upon the body. I don't know who actually stabbed her."
"I believe you," Robin said softly. "You could have given away my true
identity anytime, but you haven't. I only have one question. If I'm here
- where's Jacobi?"
Marion slipped across the compound to Friar Tuck's hut. Glancing around to make sure she wasn't seen, she knocked on the door frame softly. The Friar's voice called for her to enter.
"Tuck, where is Little John?" Marion asked, breathing hard.
"At the stables caring for the horses. Why? What has frightened you?" Tuck returned, noting the fear in Marions eyes.
"I have a long story to tell both of you, that Robin cannot hear," Marion replied.
"Go ahead then, Marion. I'll relay it to John when you are finished." Tuck sat on the edge of his pallet, listening intently.
"Friar, have you noticed anything . . . odd about Robin lately?" Marion asked frankly.
"Now that you mention it, he hasn't seemed quite himself."
"That's it, exactly!" Marion jumped to her feet, startling Tuck half to death.
"He ISN'T Robin!" Marion was going too fast, she could see, and was only confusing Tuck.
"Marion, you're not making any sense. Of course he's Robin."
"No! No, Tuck. Look at his forearm. The sign of the dragon is missing. And when Robin is around me, he relaxes a bit, and I've noticed a heavy accent. Robin never talks like he does. I've know Robin my entire life!" Marion's voice was rising excitedly, and she was beginning to blush. "And yesterday, he made very suggestive moves toward me."
Friar Tuck's eyes widened in amazement. "You're sure about this?"
"Of course, I'm sure! Check his arm, Tuck. And now he tells me he needs some gold coin for a poor starving family. Robin would never think of asking ME for something like that. He KNOWS where the gold is! He'd just take some, and help them out."
"Yes, yes, of course. You're right," Tuck concurred. "I better find Little John."
"Tuck," Marionís began, then hesitated, almost afraid to mention her fears. "If this is not Robin, then where is he?"
Both of them sat on the edge of Friar Tuck's pallet, silently contemplating
the answer to that question, while Jacobi leaned against the outside wall
of the hut, listening to every word being said.
End of Chapter Four
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