Robin felt uneasy the entire morning. Cho quickly noticed it when they started the exercising for the day.
"You are not concentrating today King Richard," he scolded Robin. "Perhaps it is because the Master had to put you in your place?"
Robin glanced down at his now bandaged hand. Cho had taken care of the wounds that The Master had inflicted on him, but not without a lecture on Master, slave relationship. Robin just quietly listened to Cho, as his mind raced to come up with a plan on escaping from the Arena.
Robin cried out in pain as Cho scored on him again with his special weapon. Robin still hadnít been able to defend himself against them. As Cho was coming at him, again Robin felt a chill run up his spine. There was something different here. He glanced around the Arena. It was something familiar, he sensed that someone was here...Then that it came to him!
She was here!
His heart skipped a beat as could feel that Marion was nearby. He didnít know how he knew, nor did he care. Only that he she was nearby. Robin turned around to face the entrance to the Arena. He saw Ian strolling in. There was a small group of people walking directly behind him. As Ian walked to the side; his heart stopped, he ceased to breathe. For slowly walking into the arena, was his Marion.
He blinked his eyes, trying to catch his breath. She was not an illusion. Not a vision made up to help him endure an unimaginable pain. She was there before him. Walking into the Arena, her long brown hair flowed smoothly back and forth with her every graceful movement. Her brilliant blue eyes searching around the arena, looking for him. Her gentle beautiful face turning towards him. She was just the way he had remembered her. It seemed years since he had last seen her. All he could think of, as she walked in wasÖ
"She looked great in that outfit!"
As Robin stared at Marion, trying to figure a way of getting her attention, Cho was able to do just that to him. Robinís back arched as he felt a stinging hit land in middle of his back. Cho had scored on him with his weapons. Robin cried out in agony at the hit, falling to his knees in pain.
"I told you to concentrate," Cho yelled. "Youíll learn to listen to me!" Marion followed Ian into the arena. As they had walked down the long dark corridors, she had to clench her fists in anger, to keep from saying anything about the abhorrent conditions she witnessed. She made a vow to herself that when they were able to help Robin escape from here. They were also going to try to help the other prisoners.
Marion faintly heard what Ian was describing to her about the size of the Arena, and how it was run by the trainers with their fighters. She really wasnít paying attention to what he was saying. Her only concern was finding Robin. As they entered the Arena, Ian stepped aside. Marion quickly scanned the interiors of the Arena. Hoping that Robin was somewhere...
However, deep inside she also prayed that he wasnít. She spied two guards posted at every exit and entrance. It was not going to be easy for them to help him escape from this place. Little John and Tuck came up from behind. As she was looking towards the center ring, she heard a familiar voice cry out in pain. Her heart skipped a beat - she swallowed hard. Her mouth suddenly went dry. It was his voice! She cried out inside. She clenched her hands tightly, to keep them from shaking, as she looked in the direction the cry came from.
Marion could see a man on his knees, holding his back in pain. An ugly man was yelling at him. Marionís heart froze. The ugly man was the same one she witnessed torturing Robin in her vision. Her gaze then fell back on the man on the floor. His eyes were squeezed closed in pain, he was clutching his back. Marionís eyes fell upon his face.
Robinís eyes opened to gaze back at her. His soft brown eyes were in so much agony. Marion stared at her Robin, as he tried to stand up. His hair was pulled back and braided with a leather tong. He was now dressed in a tight black leather shirt and vest. Black leather pants and knee high boots. Marion had to hold back a gasp. She hadnít seen him in almost a month now. Yes, her heart sang. It was him, it was her Robin. All these weeks of searching, to finally find him here. As she stared at Robin, her only thought were...
"He looked great in that outfit!"
Marion felt Little John push up against her. The Mongolian was still yelling at Robin. He pulled on Robinís arm, jerking him up. Robin was in agony. He clutched at his back as the Mongolian tried to use the weapon again against him. Little John had to hold himself back, as he watched this man mistreat Robin. Little Johns anger grew as he saw the man was treating him like an animal. Tuck gripped Little Johns arm. He squeezed it to let him know that there were others that were concerned for Robin too.
The last hit Cho had inflicted on Robin stung so hard that he felt numbness in his hands. He rubbed at the mark Cho made on him, trying to work the numbness out, massaging the sore area. Robin smiled to himself. Trying to hide the joy, he felt in his heart. They were here! He screamed as loud as he could in his mind.
'They were here! Marion, Little John, and Tuck were here at last!' he grinned wickedly at Cho.
"Good, you pay attention now King Richard!" Cho yelled at Robin.
Cho waited for him to brace himself for another assault. Robin felt light as a feather, his friends were here, he couldnít say it enough. Robin glanced back at them again. He now saw Kemal entering the Arena. He was helping a man to walk. The man was a stranger to Robin. He wondered why he was wearing a goats beard?
Cho came into Robin continuing the lessons. He pulled back and brought the weapon forward again. Robin quickly blocked with the mace. Choís face lit up. That was the first time he had successfully countered a hit from Cho.
Marion couldnít keep her eyes off Robin. She was so close to him now.
"I see youíve noticed our King Richard," the Master proudly said.
"Is that his name?" Marion gasped. She had to control her voice. She couldnít let on to The Master on how much she wanted to run to Robin and embrace him.
"Yes, he's my best fighter."
Marionís head jerked aroundÖfighter? She thoughtÖmaybe this was their chance?
"Is he for sale?" She held her breath, hoping that there may be an easy way to get Robin out of here. Her heart sank with The Masters reply.
"Hardly!" She laughed out loud. "He's the best weíve seen in years. I donít think even Prince John has enough money to buy him."
"Can I at least look closer at this King Richard? I do so like to look at a well formed man," Marion said, as an afterthought.
The Master eyed Robin in such a way that it made Marion blush. "Yes, he is that." The Master then turned her head to glance up at Little John. Little John tried to look indifferent, but his skin betrayed him, it turned a beet red.
"I can let you see him if you wish Johnny." The Master addressed only Little John, blatantly ignoring the others.
"We would appreciate that," Little John thanked her.
"Well then, come this way."
She started leading them to where Robin was training. Ralph suddenly balked. He just couldnít get that close to Cho.
"I donít feel good!" he groaned, letting out a horrible belch.
"Then stay there," Marion ordered him, seeing the fear in his eyes.
"Yes my dear," Ralph tried to sound subdued.
From the corner of his eye Cho could see The Master was coming towards him with a strange looking group. Choís quick assessment of them was - Money. He didnít want any part of them. Tucking his weapons into his belt he snarled at Robin, "Training is over."
He then grabbed Robinís arm and started dragging him away from Marion and his friends. Robin dug in his heels, pulling back at Cho. As he turned his head to look back at Marion, Cho pulled him harder. He stopped only when The Master called out to him.
"Cho wait. I have some guests that want to see King Richard."
Cho pushed Robin protectively behind him. The two dogs stood in front of him, guarding Robin. His ever-present guards quickly came up and stood behind them.
"He needs rest," Cho growled, as he crossed his arms to indicate he was adamant about it.
Stopping in front of the dogs, The Master also crossed her arms.
"It's not going to hurt for them to see him Cho. We need more people to know about him."
Cho stood his ground. King Richard was his, he wasnít going to let the Master take charge of him.
Robin slowly started moving sideways. He tried to get a clearer look at Marion. Marion spied him peeking at her. Their eyes lockedÖhe missed her so much, and she missed him just as deeply. The pain was evident in his eyesÖthe longing for him, in hers. As The Master and Cho argued on, Ian stepped behind Marion, whispering into her ear.
"He is a handsome one, isnít he?" Ian noticed the wide-eyed stares that she was giving to their King Richard.
"Yes he is," Marion softly murmured.
Cho refused to give into the Master. Frustrated at the chance of being this close to Robin, yet not able to touch him, Marion moved behind the Master. She said in an intolerant voice.
"Who's in charge here? I thought you were?"
Coming up to the Master, she whispered in her ear. "You really must keep better control of the help."
The Masters face flushed red in anger. "Cho stand aside," she ordered him. Cho had committed the ultimate crime. He embarrassed her in front of special guests - special rich guests!
Cho stood his ground. He refused to follow the Masters orders. King Richard was his property, his warrior. He would never give that up.
The Master was infuriated. "If you donít do what I say Cho then..." the Master snapped her fingers. Immediately Robinís guards pulled out their swords pressing them against Choís back. Nero and Caligula's hackles rose at their master being threatened. Cho glanced around the Arena, all the guards were under her control. Each one looked at Cho now, with their swords drawn. There was nothing he could do for now; he had to capitulate. Cho stormed off to the side, calling his dogs to him. Nero and Caligula followed him to stand by his side. Robin was now standing alone, in front of Marion.
"Remember, you are mine!" Cho shouted out to Robin.
Robinís eyes fell to the floor. He was embarrassed by Cho reprimanding him in front of Marion and his friends. He couldnít bear to face them.
"Hmm nice," Marion purred, as she slowly walked around Robin, first examining him with her eyes.
"May I?" she asked the Master.
The Master motioned to the guards. They grabbed Robinís arms. One of the guards clutching Robinís braid, jerked it hard, bringing Robinís head back. Robinís eyes closed in shame.
It was all Little John could do to hold himself back. Seeing Robin manhandled in that way, his anger grew close to exploding. He clenched his hands so hard that he drew blood. Tuck and Kemal could see the strain in Little Johns face. Tuck brought his hand up, stroking Little Johns back. Attempting to comfort him, calm him down. Of all there, Tuck knew Little John was the most emotional. He would be the first one to break.
Marion had to restrain herself also. She had a role to play. She needed to keep up appearances, although deep inside she was screaming out in anger and outrage. As she was a witness to Robin being treated so cruelly. She wanted to grab Robin and run out with him, but she knew she had to restrain herself. She was Elizabeth now, and only Elizabeth would be able to help Robin escape out of this horrible place, not Marion Fitzwalter. Taking in a deep breath, she steeled herself. She had to become ElizabethÖshe had to BE Elizabeth. Slowly she strolled to the front of Robin. Eyeing him up and down, she slowly licked her lips as she ran her hand across his chest.
"Yessss, very nice indeed, you're sure he isnít for sale?" She turned to ask the Master. Choís face contorted in anger as he heard his warrior being bartered for.
"As I told you Elizabeth. Not even Prince John has enough money to buy him."
Marion gave out an exhausted sigh, "Pity."
Reaching up, she stroked his face with the back of her hand. The guard pulled on Robinís braid harder, forcing his head further back.
Giving the guard a coy look, she asked. "May I?"
The guard looked to the Master; she nodded her approval. An evil grin was set on Marionís face.
She gently wrapped her hand around Robinís braid. The guard released him, stepping back. Marion pulled maliciously on Robin's braid, bringing his head further back. She glided up to his ear and started nibbling on it. To the others, it had looked like she was biting him, but she was really whispering to him. So softly, that only Robin could hear her.
"We will get you out of here," she whispered to Robin, finishing with. "I love you." Robinís eyes closed in relief at these words
The Master glanced at Cho. He was absolutely livid at seeing his Warrior handled in that way by a rich brat. When she started nuzzling his ear he had, had enough!
"We go now!" he blasted out in rage.
Nero and Caligula ran up to Robin. Being threatened by the dogs, Marion released Robin and jumped back to where Little John and Tuck stood. Cho slapped the other guards hand, he released Robin from his hold.
Cho clutched Robin by his waist and swung him behind him.
"He is MY warrior, not a toy for your friends!" Cho then turned angrily around and pushed Robin ahead of him. They left the arena, the dogs in front, and the two guards in tow.
"Well! I have never been treated in such a way!" Marion gasped out in shock. Her gasp was genuine. She used it to let out the pain she felt in her heart as she saw Robin taken away from her.
The Master chuckled at Choís defiance. "He is my best Elizabeth." She sung out. "But donít worry. There'll be plenty of time for you to see King Richard before the tournament begins.í
"Good," Marion said with a satisfied grin. She had to be Elizabeth again. "Now, could you show us to our rooms? I am very tired from our travels here."
"Of course this way please." She motioned them to head in the direction that Robin left.
"David come, we're going to our rooms now," Marion called back.
"Good, I need some rest, and something to drink," David said, as he joined the group. "Iím really thirsty."
Marion rolled her eyes. "David, when are you ever not thirsty?"
"Only when he's asleep," Little John joked.
They then left the arena, walking in the dark corridors. With The Master leading them, she seemed to be very interested in Little John. She talked to him continually as they headed towards the room. Little John just smiled politely and nodded his head at her. As they walked on, they passed a room that was guarded by the two escorts that were with Robin. Marion burned into her memory where the room was located. This was where they kept Robin. Winding around the corridors, they finally came to their room.
"I hope you donít mind sharing. At such a short notice, there arenít to many left." The Master opened the room. As Marion walked in, she gazed around the room. It was as big as her room in Fitzwalter castle. It held three large beds, a large dresser, and two windows. It was enough room for all.
She strolled to one of the windows and looked out to the courtyard.
Little John strode into the room. Tuck followed, with Kemal and Ralph. Ralph headed straight to one of the beds. Plopping down on it, he instantly fell asleep.
"What do you think Johnny?" she asked Little John.
"I suppose it will do," Little John said in a totally annoyed voice.
"If you want, we have a place in the stables for Kemal to sleep." The Master offered.
"No thanks, I like him to be nearby. In case I need something." Marion told The Master.
"Good then." The Master was glad she had contented her rich guests. "The first main battle begins in three hours. Weíll see you then."
Giving Little John a parting smile, the Master closed the door. Little John smiled back at her. When the door closed Little Johns fist finally unclenched.
He paced around the room, looking for something to break. Tuck not wanting to be it, handed him a chair. Little John slammed the chair into a wall, repeatedly, until it broke into a million splinters. The others watched Little John vent out his anger. They were with him in spirit; slamming the chair into the wall as well. When the chair was no more than kindling. Little John bent over and propped his hands on his knees. He head hung down. His long hair hiding his face that was contorted in agony. He panted heavily, exhausted, he felt like he wanted to explode.
Looking up at his companions, the expression on their faces mirrored his. Anger, sadness, frustration. It was so hard for them to ignore how Robin was treated in front of them. As they looked to one another, a small grin started to break out. Little John stood up, his smile grew bigger. They all realized together, that although Robin had suffered at these monsters hands. At least they did find him. That in itself was the best thing that happened today. The four outlaws came together and hugged. They found Robin. Now all they had to do was figure a way of getting him out of here.
End of Part Seventeen
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