Seeing the narrow miss of the arrow Davey dropped the soldier he held in his hands, and ran back the way he came. Robin tried to follow him into the forest but his ankle just wasn't cooperating.
He was tripped by a solider, falling to the ground he then felt hands grabbing him. One set promptly tied his hands behind his back. Pulling him up he now was looking at the very red face of the Captain. He then gave the captain the most infuriating grin, angering him even more he slapped Robin across the face.
"You'll pay for that humiliation." MacArdle roared. His body shook from the strain of holding back his anger, suddenly a wicked smile came to him. "I have something for you." He said cryptically, going to his horse he pulled out a leather collar. MacArdle ordered his men to hold onto Robin while he placed the collar on his neck. Stepping back he pulled viciously on the leather leash. Robin pulled back on it, giving the Captain an enraged look.
"My but don't you look good in that." MacArdle giggled. "It’s a special present from me. The Prince always said he liked the way I treated my prisoners. He asked me to treat you extra special. I came up with the collar." He proudly said. "When I told Prince John of what I planned to do, he asked me to be sure and parade you through all the villages on the way back to his castle, for all to see." MacArdle made a wide sweep of his arms. "I'm sure he has special plans for you when you arrive. I was told to make sure you were well taken care of for your trip home. But how long that lasts after you reach the castle. Well your guess is as good as mine."
Bending over to whisper in Robin’s ear he said. "I'm hoping it'll be a long and painfully blissful time. Blissful for the Prince." he gave Robin a most sinister smile.
"Jeffries!" he bellowed out, staring possessively at Robin. "Yes sir," answered Jeffries snapping to attention.
"Try to get the men back together, see if you can find the horses that ran off. Oh and Jeffries if you see that giant again, kill him. I don't want him becoming a nuisance."
"Yes, Sir, and what about Robin Hood."
"Oh don't worry about him." MacArdle laughed as he patted Robin on his cheek. "I'm not letting him out of my sight until we reach the Castle."
"Yes sir" Jeffries turned on his heels, leaving Robin and the Captain alone as he tried to get his men back together.
* * *
Meanwhile Davey had been watching the scene between MacArdle and Robin from behind a tree. What was he going to do? He had to help Robin, but how? He kept hitting his head over and over again, repeating softly to himself.
"Got to think of something to help him. He's a friend. Friends help friends. But how?!' Suddenly something did come to Davey. A large grin encompassed his face. "Yes I remembered. I know what to do." Quickly he ran back to the original camp they had stayed at for the night.
* * *
Noting that Jeffries was probably going to take a long time, Robin sat down on a large branch. The Captain was nervously pacing back and forth. He had let Robin’s leash lie loose on the ground.
"Don't get any ideas about trying to get away." The captain hissed a warning to Robin.
Robins brown eyes opened up wide in innocence. "Why the thought never even entered my mind." He once again gave him that infuriating smile. The captain only paced faster. Suddenly he stopped and just stared at Robin. Finally after a few agonizing minutes he said to him.
"You puzzle me."
"Oh really, and why is that?" said Robin.
"I don't understand how you could give up being a earl for the life of a thief."
"Believe me." Robin chuckled. "You couldn’t even begin to know."
"I might understand more than you think." MacArdle whispered out, squatting down infront of Robin he gazed at him, eye to eye. He pointed to each other’s chest as he said. "We are more alike than you think."
"Oh really." said Robin. "Well if you are like me. I'd let me go." he twisted his body around, showing him his tied hands. The captain just looked at him and laughed. Robin turned back around and shrugged his shoulders giving him a dimpled grin.
"Why do you live like this? You were born to a higher station. You are the son of an Earl. Yet you live like a common peasant."
Robin was beginning to become confused by this questioning, he decided that he would try to explain to this Captain of the Prince’s guard just why he made that decision. Perhaps he would be able to change this mans ways? "That was not my choice." Robin began. "It was forced on me."
MacArdle quickly sat down next to him, he pointed a finger at Robin. "But I had heard that you were offered it all back. Your title, your land, everything, and you turned it down. This can't be true." MacArdle said in amazement.
"It is." returned Robin.
"Why?" MacArdle said in astonishment.
"Because, I saw what Norman rule has done for the poor. With King Richard away Prince John has made life hell for all those who won’t bow to him. I chose to help those who can't help themselves." Still MacArdle looked puzzled. "But you were born with royal blood. You should be living in a castle with servants. Going to balls and festivals." Robin could see MacArdle had a faraway look on his face as he went on. He seemed to speak as someone who experienced living the life he now spoke of.
Robin cocked his head, raising one eyebrow he asked MacArdle. "But who pays for these balls? Those festivals are paid for on the backs of the weak and the poor. Their sweat and toil keeps the nobles housed and well fed. King Richard helped the poor when he was in England. When Prince John took over Rule in Richards absence he used the poor to better himself and his Norman friends." Robin was hushed by MacArdle’s anger.
"Shut up!" MacArdle screamed. "You sound just like my father." He stood and started the pacing again. "Yes he backed Richard. He thought Richard was a good king also. 'He's a King for the people' he would say. Well I knew better. I knew that Prince John was the man I wanted in charge of England. But he showed me didn't he." MacArdle raved on, he spun around on his heels, pointing an accusing finger at Robin.
"Oh Yes, when it was time for me to go to the crusades I refused." Staring at Robin he nodded. "I didn't want to die for a King I didn't believe in. My father didn't seem to mind, after all I had two other brothers in the crusades." Once again he squatted in front of Robin to try to stress his point. He said in a low strained voice. "My brothers died in those holy crusades. And when my father died from the grief of losing his beloved sons I found out he disinherited me." He closed his eyes from the pain of remembering this.
Opening them Robin could see the anger deep inside of them. "And that is why I say to you that you are a fool, not to take back that which was offered to you. I would do anything to get it back. Even if I have to step on the necks of all the villagers you have sworn to protect. I will get it back."
Robin locked eyes with MacArdle. "And turning me in will give that to you?"
MacArdle did not turn from Robin’s look. "Oh yes, the Prince has assured me that. When I get my title I will be answerable to no man." A voice behind quietly said "Except the Prince and God, in that order."
MacArdle turned to see Jeffries standing behind him. "You know Jeffries. When I get my title back I'm going to ask the Prince to make you the captain of my guard." Stepping closer to him he seethed out. "Then I will make your life a living hell."
Jeffries saluted MacArdle saying. "I'm looking forward to it sir." Turning so that his back faced him MacArdle said "Report Lieutenant, any sign of Robin Hoods men"
"No sir, not a sign. We searched everywhere, we also couldn't find the giant. He was able to get away."
"Very well Jeffries." MacArdle sniffed as he began to put his gloves on. "We'll just have to keep a eye out for him." Stooping down MacArdle grabbed Robin’s leash pulling him up off the ground. Robin grunted from the pain of the collar biting into his neck.
"Well then lets be off, we have a long ways to go. And I'm sure that the Prince will be anxious to see our special prisoner." Jumping up on his stallion Captain MacArdle urged his mount slowly out pulling Robin behind him. The other soldiers were also mounted, they surrounded Robin from all sides. Looking around, the only good thing that Robin could see out of this was that Davey did manage to get away.
It was several hours later as they were nearing a village that Robin had to stop and rest, his ankle ached terribly. Asking the Captain for a moment of rest, he just replied that would not hear of it. He wanted to return as soon as possible to the Princes castle. He was anxious to get back and accept the praise of being the man that captured the outlaw Robin Hood.
"Look!" Robin shouted out in anger. "I can't take another step. I have to rest." Captain MacArdle stopped his mount, placing his finger on his lips he thought about it. He nodded his head at Robin, and then pulled hard on the leash. Making him fall flat on his face, a wicked laugh followed after. Jeffries instantly jumped down and helped Robin back up.
As he helped him up he whispered to him. "Careful soldier, next time it'll be your head." He then winked at Robin. Robin smiled back at him. Perhaps there was some hope for his escape. Looking up at the Captain he saw the most malevolent grin on his face. "Walking or dragging. I don't care how you get there, as long as we do get there." Giving Jeffries an icy glare he then kicked the horse to go forward. Forcing Robin to keep going.
As they were making their way around a small hill a wall of smoke suddenly hit them. Turning around they found a smoke cover had also formed behind them. Immediately the Captain jumped off his horse and ran to Robin. Looking at him, his brow twisted in hate he hissed. "Is this a trick of your men?"
Robin let out a hearty laugh. "I wouldn't know I've been tied up for the past few hours."
"No one will take you from me you hear? NO ONE!" He shouted out.
The smoke was becoming thick. It slowly made its way towards the small group of soldiers. MacArdle had them all dismount and form a circle around Robin. As they waited the smoke drifted slowly towards them, the soldier’s eyes were wide with fear; they really didn’t know what to expect. Suddenly a large arm reached out of the smoke and grabbed one of the soldiers at the outermost circle. The man disappeared into the yellowed smoke, a crack was heard and a body was thrown back. Looking at the soldier they could see that his neck had been broken. On the other side another soldier disappeared into the smoke. The same sickening crack was heard.
The men were becoming terrified. They couldn't see their attacker in all this smoke. Some men decided to run off. The Captain kept Robin close to him.
Bringing the leash up short he hissed "I'm not going to lose you." He began to bark out orders. "Jeffries make a diversion for me!" He whirled around, pulling Robin along he made his way back from where they had come. As he ran through the smoke he heard the cries of his men slowly being killed. His eyes watered, breathing was almost impossible. Still he kept on, practically dragging Robin along with him. Suddenly he was near the end of the smoke cover. As he reached fresh air an arm suddenly flung out. He flew off into the forest, releasing Robin’s leash. He lay on the ground, his head ringing. Distantly he heard Robin and another talking.
Robin looked up and saw the now familiar face of Davey. "I did it." he said breathless, a large grin cracking his face. "I saved you." Robin looked about, to see if any of the men were following. He was unable to see too far into the smoke.
It had been excellent cover for the giant’s bulky size. Gazing up in wonder he asked Davey "How did you know what to do?"
Davey chest swelled in pride. "I remembers what you said yesterday. Green wood makes lots of smoke. Sos I went back and got the rock you used to makes the fire. I had to run real hard to get ahead of the soldiers. I got all the green wood I could find and lit it like you did."
Thankful for his rescue, Robin still scolded the Boy Giant. "Davey I told you to stay hidden. Why did you come after me?"
Davey was confused. "Because you’re my friend. Friends always help each other when in troubles. And besides, it was my fault you got took." Quickly realizing that some of the soldiers might still be alive, Robin spun around and told Davey. "Quick undo my bonds."
He felt Davey’s large hands try to undo the knots. He could hear curses of frustration from the large man. "I don't know if I can. My fingers are to big."
"You've got to try." Robin tried to stress to the gentle giant. Davey pulled on them harder he tried desperately to loosen them. Just when Robin thought he might have had it, he heard Davey cry out in pain. Spinning around he saw Davey fall to his knees, his eyes wide in shock. From behind he heard a voice cackle out.
"I'll not be denied whats mine!" He then saw the Captain walk around the giant’s prone body. A dagger in his hands! His look was crazed as he stalked Robin. "I told you I'll do anything to get back what was taken from me. ANYTHING!" He walking towards Robin, his bloody dagger held in his hands. Robin backpedaled struggling to loosen his bonds. As he saw the Captain make a grab for the leash still on his neck he jerked back to try to keep it from his reach.
As the Captain lunged again he heard a sound from behind. As he turned he found himself in a vice grip of a large angered man.
"You leave my friend alone." Davey moaned to him as he squeezed the captain with all his might. "I'm gonna make sure you won't hurt anyone, anymore." The Captain struggled in Davey’s grip, but he held on. In the iron like bear hug it was impossible for MacArdle to free himself. He suddenly realized that he wasn't going to get what he wanted. All that work. Defeated by an imbecile. Father would have been very happy, he thought as the day suddenly turned into night. Davey squeezed harder as the Captain struggled, he waited until the Captain moved no more before he released him. MacArdle’s limp body fell to the ground.
Davey then sat down on the forest floor with a plop. Looking at Robin he sighed out. "I don't feel so good." Robin ran up to him. Looking down at the large man he knew there was nothing he could do for him.
"Oh, Davey." Robin cried out, not afraid of showing his emotions to this giant child. "This shouldn't have happened. I'm suppose to protect you."
Davey looked back at the Captain. "I'm sorry I had to do that. But he was hurting you. I couldn't let him do that." Robin just couldn't think of a thing to say to Davey. He just sadly stared at him.
Davey looked up at Robin giving him a big smile. Robin tried to return his smile. Davey’s face was creased in pain, Robin kneeled down next to him.
"I'm really tired." Davey sighed out. "I don't know why? We should go now." he tried to stand but just moaned and fell back down. He now had a frightened look to his face.
"Don't know whats wrong Robin." He said in frustration.
" Just rest Davey, you’re tired from all that excitement." Robin smiled gently at him. "Yea Thats it." Davey agreed. "I'm tired." Looking up at Robin he asked. "I think I'll rest. Is that alright?"
Robin nodded his head. "Yes Davey. Rest, I'll wake you up later."
"And then you'll take me to your camp right?" The excitement still in Davey’s voice.
"Sure Davey, I'll introduce you to Little John. You'll like him. You’re not much bigger than him."
"Little John, I likes that name." He sighed deeply. "I can't wait to make new friends." He laid his head down smiling. "Can't wait." he sighed out, and then he was gone.
Robin bowed his head down in sorrow, he had lost a sweet and good friend that day. As he waited in silence, he heard a voice say, "He got what he deserved."
Robin looked up enraged. He saw Jeffries standing on the edge of the smoke cover that Davey had made. Seeing Robin infuriated Jeffries put up his hands in submission. "Hold on there. I didn't mean the giant. I meant the Captain."
Robin’s anger subsided as he realized it was just what Jeffries meant. "Your friend there was very strong. He killed most of my men."
"And why are you still alive?" Robin asked, still staring at Davey.
"Exactly what I asked him. He grabbed me back there in the smoke, ready to kill me, but he didn’t. It was when he saw who I was that he let me go. Said 'I won't hurt you. You were the only one to help my friend when he was down.' Then he went on. I've never seen a man in such a rage. He surprised me at how gentle he was to me." Robin just nodded his head. Jeffries came up to Robin saying "Here let me help you out of those bonds." Robin backed of, giving him a suspicious look.
"Please, you can trust me. I have always been a supporter of King Richard." "Then why work for the Prince John?" Robin asked still keeping his distance. Jeffries smiled at him. "You've helped King Richard in your way, and I've help him in mine. Look there are alot of Captain MacArdle's out there. And I figured I could do more good in the Princes army. They were alot worse things he would have done if I hadn't been there. Please believe me." Robin looked deep into his eyes. "A friend once told me the eyes were the windows to your soul. I see a good man." Turning Robin waited for Jeffries to untie him.
He felt a knife cut his bonds. As his hands were released, he reached up took off the collar that MacArdle had put on him. Throwing it deep into the forest with a burst of anger. Jeffries stood by Robin’s side, waiting for him to make the first move. Robin looked down at Davey softly saying. "I'm sorry Davey. It wasn't suppose to end like this."
"I'm sorry for what happened to your friend, but MacArdle was a maniac." Jeffries tried to explain. "He was obsessed in getting his title back. Its to bad for your friend that he got in the way." Robin gazing at Davey said. "I want to give him a place to rest."
"Of course." Jeffries agreed. "I'll help you if you want."
"Thank you" Robin said, he stared out into the deep forest. "But we first have to find something."
It was several hours later before they completed their task. Robin and Jeffries were mounted on their horses. Robin was shaking Jeffries hand. "I thank you for your help. If you want your welcome to join my band."
"Your welcome Robin Hood. But I think I'll go back to the Princes Castle. I've done pretty well so far. I want to try to keep it up for as long as I can. Look, If I hear or see anything important I could pass it on to you." He thought for a moment. "But how will I be able to leave you a message?"
"Don't worry." Robin chuckled. "If you’re in the forest I'll know."
Grinning widely at Robin Jeffries nodded his head. "Well then I guess I'll be off. Good to know you Robin Hood. And keep up the good work. I know the harder I work the better your doing your job." Giving Robin a salute he called off. "Good-bye!" as he rode down the road.
Robin took one last look at the large grave the two had dug. A ring of flowers was freshly planted around the grave. "Thank you Davey. For letting me know you. Even if it was briefly. I'll never forget you," He pulled his horse around and rode off. After a minute or two of riding he looked back and smiled. It took them some time but they were able to find a large weeping willow, Davey would have been very happy.
Later that night Marion, Tuck and Little John were going to the cooking area to eat supper. Passing near Robin’s tent they saw that he had returned. He was standing in front of the tent looking at the ground.
Coming up from behind they noticed freshly planted flowers. "Where'd you get the flowers?" Little John asked. "From a new friend." Robin replied, smiling sadly to himself he said proudly. "They smell the bestest." Marion and Tuck gave each other a puzzled look.
Tuck patted Robin on the back. "So how did your trip go?" Robin sighed deeply. Looking at Tuck he asked. "Is that your venison stew I smell?"
'Why yes it is. We were just going over there to have some."
"Well then, lets go, I'm starving. I'll tell you how it went over a bowl of your famous stew."
Turning around he headed toward the smell. As he walked on he hummed a tune. Marion wondered where had she heard it before, she also noticed that he was limping slightly. Once again Marion and Tuck exchanged puzzled glances. Tuck said
"I think this is a story I'm going to want to hear."
"Me too." she said, they each ran to catch up with Robin.