A Gift or a Curse
By Sandy Neumann
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Chapter Three

A few hours passed before Angel was ready to put her plan into affect. Before she went back to her quarters after visiting Robin in the middle of the night, she retrieved Robin's sword and quiver and put them in a room close to his cell.

Angel made sure that Langton had been gone for at least one hour before she decided to make her move. She knew that his trip would take at least 5 hours. That would give her plenty of time to get him out and time to flee.

She walked almost soundlessly down the dark corridor to his cell. She had his sword in hand. She knew that she would have to kill the guard at the door in order to make her story work. She would tell Langton that Robin must have killed him in his escape.

As she approached the cell, the guard noticed that she had a sword. "What are you doing here with that, Angel," he asked her nonchalantly. She just looked at him and said she was sorry. She trust the sword into his chest, killing him instantly.

Robin could hear some commotion outside his cell. He knew it must have been Angel. Angel grabbed the keys to unlock the door and Robin's manacles and went inside. Robin was surprised to see his sword in her hand with blood on it.

He hadn't pictured her able to kill anyone with a sword, but then again, there was a lot he didn't know about her. She also had her hair piled up on her head, which was different for her. Robin wondered if she had had a change of heart about coming with him. She ran up to him and unlocked his manacles. He gratefully rubbed his wrists and arms back some circulation.

"You must hurry before the other guards catch wind of what's going on. Here's your sword and quiver. Sorry about the blood on it. I only killed him to coincide with my story," Angel said.

"What do you mean, your story? Do you still plan on staying here? You can't be serious. After what that man has done to you. Why don't you come with me? I can protect you," Robin tried pleading with her. But Angel wouldn't hear of it.

"Now, when you leave the cell you need to go out the corridor to the right and...," she said before she was interrupted.

"What are you gonna do," Robin asked.

"I'm giving you directions on how to get out of here. Then you will need to knock me out here in this room. It needs to look like you broke free when I was trying to feed you."

"What are you crazy," Robin said to her. "I am not gonna knock you out. You're coming with me," he insisted and grabbed her arm. He pulled her out of the room.

"No!! You can't do this to me. You don't know what he's like. He'll kill me if he finds me. Let me go!!" she started screaming.

This caught the attention of one of the guards down the hall. He came running down the hallway and upon seeing Robin, brought his sword out. Robin, seeing this man approaching, pushed Angel to the side and swung his sword at the guard. He caught the guard in the side with his sword and pushed him to the ground with his foot.

Angel was just standing to the side watching Robin fight. Robin turned to her and grabbed her arm again.

"Let's go!!" She started fighting him to stay.

"Why do you insist on staying here. I told you I will protect you," Robin promised her.

"I can't ...go...," she started to cry out.

Robin pulled her close to him. "Look into my eyes. Do you trust me," he asked her. She looked into those deep brown eyes of his and could see that he was telling the truth. She just slowly mumbled yes through her sobbing. Robin put his arm around her and held her tight. "Then come with me," he whispered to her. She finally gave in and started to lead Robin down the corridor.

They came across the door that lead to the outside. She told Robin that two guards would be posted outside of this door. Robin said, "No problem!" He threw the door open and slammed it into the one guard. He went tumbling to the ground. The other guard drew his sword out and thrusted it towards Robin. Robin jumped to the side and kicked the guy in his back. The guard flew against the door, dropping his sword. Angel picked it up and thrust it into his chest.

Robin was amazed at the power she had putting that sword into the man.

He wondered if she wasn't somehow venting her pain and revenge out in that thrust. The guard fell on top of the other guard in death.

"Come on, we gotta get out of here before the others inside realize what's happening," she told him. "There are some horses over there, in the stable," she pointed out to him. They ran towards the stable. Robin grabbed a horse, but noticed Angel just standing there.

"What's wrong? Don't tell me you're having second thoughts now. It's too late. You’re in it for the long run now," he told her.

"No, that's not it. I've never ridden a horse before."

Robin rolled his eyes and raised an eyebrow and said, "Well, looks like you'll be riding with me then. This is one looks good and strong."

He took the horse and walked it out of the stable. He motioned for Angel to come to him. He grabbed Angel by the waist and hefted her up onto the horse. Then he jumped up onto the horse and they took off. Lord Langton had been rambling on to Prince John at how he caught Robin Hood and was putting him through this unusual kind of torture of the mind. Prince John was mostly intrigued by this gift that this girl possessed. He was wondering how to get Lord Langton to give her up to him.

When the carriages approached the abandoned castle outside of Lockshire, Lord Langton could see two of his men lying on the ground. Prince John sent two of his soldiers to investigate the situation. The soldiers came back reporting that the guards were dead. Lord Langton went into a rage. He went charging inside the castle to find the other guards. All of them were either out cold or dead. Giant that had been standing at Robin cell was slain. He went running into the cell to find Robin Hood gone. He then went running into the corridor screaming Angel's name. He ran into her quarters and saw nobody there.

Prince John had been standing, waiting outside of the castle's main gate. Lord Langton came rushing out to him.

"They're both gone," he gasped trying to catch his breath.

Prince John looked disgustingly at Langton. "You are a stupid fool to trust that girl to stay here with Robin Hood," he growled out. "But, Prince John, she knows better. She knows what will happen when I find her." Prince John just laughed.

"And now that she's with Robin Hood, do you honestly expect to find her. She's got it made now. She'll stay as far away from you as she can." Lord Langton was furious now at what a fool she made him look to be in front of the Prince of England. Prince John waved his carriage over. "I will be on my way back now. I should have known better than to think that you could have gotten Robin Hood. I can't even catch him and you could. You probably never even had him here." Prince John just sneered as he made his way into the carriage.

As Prince John's carriage made it's way off the property, Langton stood ready to explode. He couldn't believe that Angel could have been part of Robin Hood's escape. He thought for sure that he had complete control over her. He should have never let her in Robin's cell alone for so long. Perhaps she was forced to go with him, as a hostage.

Nah, he knew that wasn't the case. When he got is hands on her, she would surely be sorry. She would never see the light of day again. He would put all his efforts in to getting her back and punishing her in his favorite way!! He actually chuckled thinking about having her suffer. He was truly an evil man.

He kicked the dead body of the guard outside the cell door and made his way inside to investigate. The manacles that held Robin had been unlocked and thrown on the floor. He went back out to find Robin's sword and quiver. When he found them missing, he knew that he had help. He figured that Giant at the cell door would have stopped anyone, but Angel. They all obeyed her. But Giant was slain, too. Could Angel have killed him? Langton didn't think she could ever kill person, but perhaps all the pain inside her needs some kind of outlet. He pondered this thought as he stormed back to his quarters.

The sun was starting to set in the sky. Robin was feeling tried and knew they wouldn't be able to make it back to camp before darkness. Robin had one arm around Angel for most of the ride. She sat in front of him on the black horse. Neither of them spoke during the whole ride. Robin could tell that Angel was in deep thought the whole ride. He was just plain tired and trying to keep focused on the journey.

Angel had been admiring the outdoors during the ride. She never got much of a chance to be outside. Only when she went back and forth between castles with Langton. Then most of the trip was made inside a carriage, so she didn't get to truly enjoy the outdoors. When she was little all she did was spend time outside, but once she came to Langton's castle her whole life changed.

Angel was also enjoying the fact that she was in Robin's arms during this ride. She felt his warmth and tenderness. She felt safe for the first time in a long time. She would occasionally rest her head against Robin's chest. He would just smile down at her. He knew that leaving Langton was hard for her, but he was glad he got her to break his hold on her.

"This looks like a good place to break for camp and stay the night," Robin said as he halted the horse.

"Are you sure we are far enough away that no one will find us," Angel asked with concern.

"We'll be fine here. We'll get up with daybreak and be on our way. It shouldn't be too long then, back to my camp." Angel just smiled at him as he dismounted from the horse. He put his arms up to catch her as she got off the horse.

"I'm gonna find some lumber to make a small fire to keep us warm. Stay with the horse and maybe lay out the two blankets in the saddle bag," Robin told her. She was a little leery of staying there alone, but he assured her he wasn't gonna be far and would be back soon. Angel grabbed the two blankets and laid them out on the cold ground. Robin came back quickly as promised and began to build a fire.

As the fire started burning, they both sat on either side of it and just stared into it. Both were seeing those images of people being burned in fires. Robin looked up at Angel to see a tear rolling down her face. She got up and walked over to a tree to lean against. She leaned against the tree staring up into the starry night sky. Robin could see her face all moist from tears. He felt his heart breaking for her, but didn't know how to help her. He got up and walked over to her. She looked at him and smiled.

"You know, my parents used to tell me that the souls of the dead become stars in the sky," she told him.

"Have you heard that before," she asked him.

"Yes, I have. Is that where your parents are now," Robin responded.

"I'd sure like to think that they are in the heavenly sky." Robin looked at her and felt a tinge of pain. It went through his whole body. He had to catch himself from falling. "You are still having effects from my curse on you," she said. "Curse? Are you a witch?"

"No, I just feel as if it is more of a curse than a gift. I mean, if it causes pain and suffering, that isn't a gift. Is it now," she questioned him. He tended to agree with her, but told her, "But you haven't learned to do good with your gift. Langton only let you use it for evil. I'm sure you could bring happiness and joy with it, if given the chance. I'm sure you will get that chance soon, too." Robin assured her. Angel looked at him. " I sure hope that you are right."

Robin motioned to her to come back by the fire where it was warmer. She glanced over to the fire and grimaced.

"I can't. It brings too many painful memories for me. You can go though, don't worry about me. I'll just grab the blanket and wrap it around me," she said slightly smiling at him.

Robin went and grabbed his and her blanket and brought it over to her. " If I get all the fire to myself, you can at least have the blankets," he offered her. She smiled up at his warm eyes and took the blankets.

She curled up on the cold ground with the blankets all wrapped around her. Robin lay next to the fire, staring back at her. He wondered why the fire bothered her so. Was it the memory of the older couple being burned in that ceremony that affected her so, or was it something else that he yet didn't know about? She was full of mystery and sadness.

She found it hard to sleep, worrying that any minute Lord Langton would find her and take her back to hell. She now realized all the horrible things she put up with. She couldn't bare the thought of returning there, ever, knowing what she would be put through. She looked at Robin sleeping. Angel knew that this man had somehow saved her from agony. She would be eternally grateful to him. She closed her eyes and tried to sleep through her nightmares.

The sky was just beginning to show the first signs of daylight when

Robin woke up. Angel was still all curled up in the blankets, sleeping. He called her name out to wake her. She didn't stir. He got up and walked over to where she lay. He gently shook her shoulder to wake her up. She rolled back, suddenly, at his touch. Her frightened eyes flew open as he backed away from her.

"I'm sorry! I didn't mean to scare you like that," Robin told her. He was concerned about her reaction. She realized it was Robin and calmed down.

"Oh, you just woke me from a nightmare and you just startled me, is all," she apologized. She got up from  the ground and brushed herself off. Robin looked at her and could tell the nightmare was a serious one. He decided to not bring it up, he didn't want her upset again.

"We have to get going before the sun is fully up. We need to make sure we get ahead start on the search party." Angel just nodded her head in approval.

As they were rolling up the blankets, Robin heard a rustle in the bushes. "Quick grab my sword," he whispered to her. She quickly grabbed it while Robin got a bow and arrow ready to aim. He stood before her, ready to protect her from whatever horror came from the bushes.

End of Chapter Three

Chapter One
 Chapter Two
 Chapter Three
 Chapter Four the Conclusion
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