The Greatest Warrior
By Virginia Cavazos
Chapter Seven
Men of Honor...

Part Twenty Five

As the final fight was finished, Little John turned his head in disgust at the spectacle. Tuck, Kemal, and Marion were also sickened by how bloody the fights had been. The crowd slowly began to dissipate. They were all heading outside, to view the celebration. It was said that the Mongolians had prepared a spectacular display. As Marion and the others made their way towards the exit, Little John gulped as he spied The Master waiting for them by the doorway. A pleasant smile crossed her face, as she could see his blonde head bobbing above the crowd. Pushing her way through the crowd, she headed towards Little John. Meeting him, she gazed up at him.

"Ready to see something magical?" She asked Little John. Her eyes always sparkled when she talked to him.

"I guess. Is all right if my sister and the others come? Theyíve never seen these fireworks." He looked down at her. His eyes were so gentle, his smile so sweet. She couldnít refuse him.

"Of course they can come. And afterwards we can have a late supper?" Her voice went up in a question.

"That will be fine." Little Johns voice went up also.

The Master hooked her arm in Little Johns. Sighing they walked towards the courtyard, to view the display. Marion had to stifle a smile as they walked on. Tuck gave her a scolding look. Then he too broke into a smile, poor Little John.

*** *** ***

Alan heard a knock at the door. He had been sitting in Robinís chair looking out the window, waiting for the fireworks to begin. Sighing, he walked to the door. Glancing at Robin, he saw he was sleeping peacefully on the bed. Nero lay on the bed beside him, his head snuggled on Robinís rising chest. Opening the door, Alan was handed a tray of food. Thanking the servant, he took the tray from his hands. Closing the door Alan gently carried the tray to a small table.

He examined what was on the tray. It held two plates piled high with what looked like stew. Alan brought his nose down to smell it. It smelled delicious, his mouth watered at the appetizing aroma. Cho must have sent some food up for them, but he didnít send up any eating ware. Never one to miss a meal, Alan started to dig in. Using his fingers, he began to devour the meal before him. He chewed down hard, the meat seemed to be a little tough.

As he ate, he heard a chuckle come from behind. He turned around, chewing on a particular tough piece of meat. He was surprised to see Robin sitting up in bed. Nero sat up next to him. Robin was stroking the dogs head as Nero was growling at Alan.

"What's wrong with him?" Alan asked as he chewed on.

"Oh nothing." Robin tried to stifle a laugh. Alan was getting upset.

"What is it?" he demanded.

"Well Nero here is a little upset because you are eating his dinner." Robin laughed out loud, he grimaced from the soreness he felt in his back.

Alan spit the meat out. "His supper!" he cried out.

"Well his and...." Robin pointed towards Caligula. The large dogs jowls were pulled back as a deep growl came from within his barrel chest.

Alan whirled around and grabbed the plates of food. Carefully he placed them on the floor. Stepping back, he waited for the dogs to eat. Caligula immediately went to the full plate of food, he devoured what was on the plate. Nero hesitated. He looked to Robin for approval.

"Go ahead boy," Robin encouraged him. "Its all right."

Nero quickly jumped down from the bed. Sniffing at what Alan had left on the plate, he ravenously gobbled down the food. Alan wiped his mouth with his sleeve, he wanted to wash his mouth out. He ate the dogs food! Robinís chuckles echoed in the room.

"How was it?" Robin snickered.

"Oh it was great!" Alan shot back. "The best meal I ever ate. IF I WAS A DOG!" He began to laugh with Robin.

"I always wanted to taste it. It does smell good."

"All I can say is, that they eat a lot better than me!" Alan had to laugh at that. Coming up to Robin, he sat at the foot of his bed.

"So how do you feel?" his concern etched his young face.

Robin passed his hand over his face. He was so tired now, and he still faced one more day of fighting. "Iíll be all right. Just have to get my strength back."

Alan fetched some of the tea he had made earlier. Cho sent up the hot water, with orders that Robin was to drink several cups before retiring for the night. Robin reluctantly took the steaming cup. Holding his nose, he took a couple of sips. The tea really was disgusting tasting, but he had to admit; it did help him feel stronger. Suddenly they heard a bang from outside. Alan ran to the window. His eyes lit up as he saw something extraordinary. There in the sky were the most breath-taking colors.

"You have to see this Robin," Alan said, as he ran to him, to help him up. Aiding him along the way, he helped Robin sit down. Robin still felt weak, but his legs did feel sure now. Alan squatted down next to him, they both viewed the spectacular display. Their eyes wide open at the magnificent colors that exploded into the night sky. As they viewed the display, Alan suddenly let out a yawn. He placed his hand over his mouth to cover it. His eyelids started feeling very heavy. Shaking his head, he tried to view the show. When a yawn came to him again, Robin noticed it.

"What's wrong Alan?"

Alan tried to stand up. He lost his balance and fell flat on his rump. "I donít know Robin. I suddenly feel sÖsÖ.so sleepyÖ" Robin heard a thump in the room. Searching around Robin could see that the thump was Caligula. He had fallen on his side He tried to lift his head but it fell to the ground.

"Nero!" Robin called out.

Nero slowly walked to Robin. His gait was forced. Coming up to him, he let out a whine, plopping on the ground, as he fell down.

"Robin what's wron..." Alan also fell to the ground. Robin kneeled down, examining Alan, he found that he was fast asleep. He then went to examine Nero. His eyelids were half-open; he groaned as Robin held his huge head in his hands. It was the food! It had to be. Whatever was in it, must have put them to sleep. Since Alan ate some of Neroís food, the large dog wasnít fully affected.

As Robin was going to inspect Caligula's condition, he heard a loud thud on his door.

Then he heard another!

Something was happening outside his room. Robin ran to the candle, quickly blowing it out. Whoever entered the room would find it dark. That would help to even things. Robin grabbed the sheet from his bed; running to a corner of the room, he waited. He was still weak from the blood loss, he had to conserve what little strength remained.

After hearing two more thuds there was silence. Robin waited, he twisted the blanket to a thick rope. Wrapping the edges around his wrist, he silently waited. His eyes already adjusted for the darkness, he could see the door slowly open. The torch light from the corridors poured in. A dark figure stood in the doorway. It was completely dressed in black, a black hood covered its head. From the shape of its body, the way he held himself, Robin knew it was a man. In his hands, he held the nun-chucks that Cho used. The assassin searched in the room for Robin. He hesitated with the room plunged in total darkness.

Quickly entering the room, the dark figure shut the door behind him. He waited by the door. Listening, scanning the dark room. Robin had to act quickly, while the stranger was waiting for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. He released one end of the sheet, pulled it back he snapped it at the assassin. The tip of the sheet hit the stranger on his arm. He almost released the nun-chucks from the sting, but now he knew where Robin was.

Robin had to move quickly. He ran towards the window, thinking that he could use the chair as a weapon. He would have made it if not for Caligula. He tripped over him in the darkness, losing the sheet as he fell. Finding himself exposed on the floor, Robin rolled towards the bed. He crawled under the bed, holding his breath; he could hear the footsteps of the assassin in the room. Robin reached up to try to break off one of the wooden stays on his bed. Quietly he broke one off. Listening carefully, he could hear the intruder walking near the window. Robin rolled out from under the bed. Nero weakly growled at the stranger. He was still groggy from the drugged food to do anything. Robin brought his head up to peak over the bed. The assassins silhouette could be seen in front of the window.

Grabbing the small table near his bed, Robin slowly stood up, and flung it at the stranger. Robin followed the table as it flew towards the window. The table hit the stranger in the middle of his back. Whirling around he could see the dark figure of Robin coming at him. The dark man brought his nun-chucks up, blocking Robinís attempted hit with the wooden stay. Robin dropped the stay as the nun-chucks scored on Robinís hand. Now all surprise was gone, Robin had to defend himself.

The stranger came after Robin energetically. Robin ducked and jumped out of the way of the flying batons. His reactions however were slow, sluggish. He could feel the new stitches pulling at his back. Robin knew he wouldnít be able to keep it up much longer. Sure enough, he was unable to duck a blow, and the nun-chucks struck him on his ribs. Robin fell at the sting of the weapons. Quickly taking advantage, The assassin stood over Robinís body. He brought the nun-chucks up to give Robin a killing blow. As he was bringing the nun-chucks down, he felt teeth plunging into the back of his left thigh. Nero growled deeply as he bit harder. He shook his head back and forth, trying to tear the flesh of the killer. The assassin cried out in pain.

Robin quickly stood up and backhanded the killer in the face. The dark stranger stumbled back, letting go, Nero now stood by Robinís side. He was not fully recovered yet, but was strong enough to be a threat. Nero barked at the dark man. Realizing that he was now overwhelmed, the assassin quickly ran from the room, leaving the door open as he fled. Nero attempted to follow the man, but Robin held onto his collar. He was concerned that there might have been others around to try to kill him.

Grasping tightly to Nero's collar, Robin walked into the corridor. His four guards were lying on the floor. Stooping down to examine one, he found that they were not dead, just unconscious. Walking back to the room, he released Nero, the large dog made sure to stay by his side. Robin used a flint to light the candle in the room. He rushed to Alan, picking him up by the shoulders, Robin dragged him to his bed. Laying him down, he began to slap Alanís face. Alan woke up with a start.

"Wha...what happened?" he moaned, clutching his head in pain.

"We had a visitor," Robin let out a halting breath.
Alan searched the room, it was in a shambles. Alan could see Caligula fast asleep on the floor.

"Apparently someone out there who feels that Iím a threat to them," Robin guessed.

"You think?" Alan moaned. He clutched his head in pain. It felt like he had spent the night out drinking, and he didnít even drink. He looked at Robin, questions danced in his eyes.

"The food must have been drugged, Alan," Robin explained.

Alan let his head drop on the pillow. "Great! That's the last time Iíll eat dog food." Alan chuckled out.

"The guards too?" Alan asked. Robin looked towards the open door. "They're unconscious Alan, but not from eating something." Alan bolted up, he clutched his head again.

"If they're unconscious, get out of here Robin! While you have the chance." Robin looked at Alan with concern.

"Alan I canít leave you here like this. Besides...." Robin stood up spreading his arms out wide. "How far do you think I can go dressed like this?" Robin chuckled. The bright red leather sparkled in the candlelight. Alan soon realized that Robin wouldnít get very far at that.

Suddenly Cho stormed into the room. He left the celebrations early, wanting to check on Robin. As he returned to the room, he found all four of Robinís guards lying on the floor, out cold. Cho quickly searched around the room, it was a mess. He knew a battle had occurred. He saw Robin sitting on the edge of his bed, while Alan was lying on the bed. Caligula was fast asleep.

"What happened here?!" Cho roared.

Alan swallowed hard. "Guess this means you wonít let me be alone with Robin anymore?" he meekly asked.

Cho shook his head in anger. Robin immediately explained to him what happened. He told Cho that someone had tried to kill him. After hearing a description from Robin about the assassin, he had a good idea who the dark stranger was.

End of Part 25

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