It took several hours for them to reach the camp. As they approached it Robin could see that it really wasn’t a very big circus. There were a few wagons, a small tent. Several people were practicing different types of acts.
"I’ll introduce you to the owner later." Jaime explained as they entered the Circus grounds. "He’s called Mr. Switch. But first we’d like to get you settled in." Robin pointed up at a banner that hung in front of the tent. Declaring the various acts.
"An’ you’ll be puttin’ me name on the front! Likes you said."
"Of course Roberto. You’re to be our headliner. I promised you this."
He patted Robin on the chest as he said this. Robin jerked back at his touch.
"’Ere now Missy, I don’t likes to be ‘andled." He warned the fair-haired man, Jaime backed off.
"Sorry Roberto. I promise it won’t happen again. Just come this way then. Your wagon is over here." He pointed off to an area strewn with old, weathered wagons.
"Right! After you Missy." Robin bowed for him to go first.
Jaime led them towards the wagons. As they were walking Robin noticed a very large man, Robin marveled at his size, he was taller than Little John was. The giant was yelling at a small white dog. The dog was cringing at its master voice. The large man then started taking off his belt. Robin immediately saw that his belt was made of a small thin chain. Realizing what he was going to do to the dog. Robin ran up to the man and grabbed the large mans arm before he was able to strikeout at the helpless dog.
"’Ere now. No need to do that Missy." Robin hissed out.
The man glared down at Robin. Robin realizing that the giant would be much stronger than him, he swung his leg out and tripped the giant. The giant fell on his back, the ground shook as he let out a grunt.
"I can’t stands to see any animal mistreated." Robin then scooped the dog up off the ground into his arms.
"I thinks I’ll take ‘im from you ‘til you know ‘ow to treats ‘im proper."
The giant flew up enraged! He eyes were in flames as Robin stood his ground against him. Little John quickly came to his side. Jaime seeing a situation developing, went between the two.
"Please gentleman, we can’t have you fighting. We have to get along." Robin smirked up at the giant. "I’m the star of this ‘ere show. I don’t ‘ave to get along with nobodies."
The giant was furious, he began to shake in anger, his face turning a deep red.
"No Jonah, don’t hurt him. He’s the new headliner."
Robin cocked his head to the side. "I likes that!" Moving closer to Jonah he taunted him. "Like ‘e says Jonah, I’m the new ‘eadliner."
Robin then started walking away with the small dog in his arms.
"Give me back Mo!" Jonah called out.
"Oui, Mo's the name of this sweet little..." Robin paused. Looking at Mo he finished. "Gurl. Well I thinks she ‘as mo’ brains than ‘er master." Robin laughed at his joke. Jonah shook with anger.
Robin just kept laughing at him as he turned and headed towards his wagon.
"Jaime, we were goin’ to ‘ave a look see at me wagon." He called out.
As Robin walked on, Mo licked his face in gratitude. Robin whispered to her. "Don’t worry Mo. I won’t let him harm you again."
"Well are you comin’?" Robin said impatiently.
Jaime said something to Jonah and then ran off to catch up with Robin and Little John.
"Yes, this here is your wagon." He panted. Pointing to a small weather beaten wagon. The paint had been long worn off.
"Uh Roberto, just to warn you. Please be careful with Jonah. He can get a little crazy sometimes. I’ve seen him almost kill a man once."
Robin laughed out loud. "The Great Roberto ain’t afraid of no man. Least ways not as long as I ‘ave the Great Samson with me."
Rising to his full height, Little John tried to look mean. Jaime looked back at Jonah. The anger in his face was intense.
"Never the less, you still be careful. Now the first show will be in 2 hours. I’ll make sure to have things set up like we talked about. Will you be up for it?" Robin scoffed.
"You’re talkin’ to the Great Roberto! I can be ready in ‘alf a minim’."
Opening the wagon door Robin walked in holding Mo in his arms. Little John followed him in. Robin then leaned out to close the door.
"When you’re ready give us a knock Missy. I ‘aves to get me beauty sleep." Robin then threw a kiss at Jonah and closed the door.
Little John searched out of the doors window to make sure no one was listening. Robin gently placed Mo on the small bed in the wagon.
"Well from the looks of it I don’t think you’ll be using the bed." Robin laughed to Little John.
"I don’t think I want to sleep around here. I don’t like that Jonah."
"Neither do I. How about you Mo?" Robin asked, his eyes sparkling at the small dog.
Mo jumped off the bed and standing on her back legs she started dancing around in a little circle.
"Look Little John!" Robin laughed.
They both laughed at her as she danced around the room. After performing a few back flips she then jumped back on the bed and started licking Robin’s hand. Robin picked her up and examined her more carefully. He saw deep scars all along her little body. That animal had actually beaten the poor little thing with that belt chain. He gently placed her back on the bed. Little John sitting on the bed started petting her. She rolled on her back to have her tummy scratched. As Little John started scratching her belly she smiled at him.
Little John looked up concerned "We can’t leave her here Robin." He moaned.
"Don’t worry Little John. We’ll take her back with us to Sherwood. After we find out if they’re the ones stealing from the villages."
Two hours later there was a knock at the wagon door. Robin opened it and walked out. He was dressed in a bright blue costume with a radiant green flowing cape. Little John stayed in the wagon with Mo.
"Well Missy. The Great Roberto is ready to dazzle your audience." Jaime nodded his head. "Everything is set up as you said. We have a large crowd tonight."
"Good I likes a large crowd. And of course they likes The Great Roberto."
Robin gave Jaime a sly wink. "Especially the laydees, if you knows wot’ I means." Jaime returned Robins wink.
"Of course we do. That’s why we made you the headliner. The ladies money is just as good as the men."
"Well then wot’ are we waitin’ fo’. Lets make some magic."
Jaime then led Robin toward the main tent. As they left four men with clubs came out of the shadows and made their way into Robin’s wagon.
Robin astonished the crowd with his marksmanship. They asked for four encores. When he was done he headed back towards the wagon. As he opened the door, he saw the wagon was in a shambles. And Little John and Mo were gone.
"Looking for someone?" a deep voice asked from behind..
Whirling Robin saw a rather muscular elderly man standing next to Jaime. "Me friend seems to be missin’." Robin coldly said.
"Really? Well I think you might find him over there." The man pointed to a wagon with bars.
As Robin glanced over he saw Little John slumped over in the Wagon. Running to him he could see that Little Johns face was bruised and swollen. "Wot ‘ave you done?" Robin hissed out in anger.
"You can forget the charade Robin Hood." The man said. Whirling around Robin just stared blankly at the man.
"Oh forgive me for not introducing myself. My name is Mr. Switch. And you are here by my personal invitation. Isn’t he Mr. mayor."
Jaime’s voice suddenly changed. "Oh please Robin Hood. Our villages are being robbed!" Robin’s face went cold with anger.
"What do you want?"
"Very good Robin Hood. Right to the point I like that in a man. Well to tell you the truth we had it planned all along for you to join our little troupe."
"And the reason being?" Robin asked, intolerance coloring his voice.
"You see Jaime here really wasn’t’ lying to you. We do travel around stealing from small villages. It was during our travels that we found a mother load. If we succeed at this place, we would be rich enough to live like kings. But we needed a person with a special skill with the bow and arrow. And of course you know your reputation with the bow."
"You brought me here to help you rob a place?" Robin’s anger grew stronger, if there was one thing he hated was being used.
"Of course being as how your name is Robin Hood. I thought that a fellow thief would be perfect for the job. That is until I researched you more and found out you really have an honest heart. Tsk, tsk such a bad example to set for the other thieves that are trying to make a dishonest living."
Robin angrily pointed at Little John.
"Why’d you do that to Little John?"
Switch wickedly smiled, his dark eyes took in Little John bruised form. "Well we asked him to come along nicely, but he just had to be persuaded a little."
Robin folded his arms his face was now a mask of hate. "What makes you think I’ll do as you say?"
"If you don’t, then Mr. Jonah will gladly do away with your old, and new friend."
Hearing a cry, Robin quickly turned around. Jonah was holding Mo up by the scruff of her neck. She yelped out in pain. A knife was held in the other hand. The edge was on Little John’s neck. Robin kept his back to Switch.
"I’ll do as you say." He whispered out.
Switch came up to Robin and patted him on his back. "Please my boy, I assure you. When we are done, you and your friends will be allowed to leave. There is honor amongst thieves. I promise you."
"I’ve heard it before." Robin replied.
"Good then. You have a lot of practicing to do. I don’t want anything to go wrong. Jaime take him to the tent. Have it set up like we said. Robin, you do as you’re told and before you know it you’ll be back in Sherwood Forest, with all your little thieves. "
Switch then walked away leaving Jaime in charge. Robin thrust his arms through the bars and checked on Little John. He saw that he was chained to the wagon, on his ankle was a shackle. He seemed to be all right. His breathing was even.
Jonah dropped Mo next to Little John and jumped out of the wagon. As he started to close the door Mo jumped out. Jonah went to grab her. She ran quickly off to one of the other wagons. Jonah roared out in a rage. "Wait until I get my hands on you!"
Robin gave Jaime a dimpled grin. "Well Missy lets go, we ‘ave some practicin’ to do." Robin then headed towards the tent. Jonah locked the wagon and ran to catch up with Robin and Jaime.
As Robin entered the tent he could see a very elaborate set up. Jaime explained as they approached it.
"Have you heard of Bainbridge castle?"
Robin nodded. "It’s where the Diamond merchant lives."
"Right! He just received a large shipment of Diamonds, and other precious stones. Enough to set us all up for life."
Robin scoffed at this. "That castle is impregnable."
Jaime tried to reassure Robin. "We realize that getting the Diamonds is going to be difficult. High walls, and many guards protect the castle. There is only one way in or out. The Front gate. But we found a small slit visible just over the wall, that we can see from a tree near the castle."
"I see you’ve done your homework." Robin remarked.
"That is what Mr. Switch is good at. He’s always very thorough in researching potential jobs. He realized that none of us had the skill to be able to place an arrow through the tiny slit. The wall hides a window below the slit. We would be able to crawl through the window, if we can just reach it."
Robin looked at the size of the slit that lay before him. It was not much bigger than an arrow.
"How far away is this slit?"
Jaime pointed to a marker at the far side of the tent.
"Are there any other obstacles?" Robins was amazed at the ingenuity. It just might work.
"Well, you will be making the shot upside-down." Robin whirled around, his large brown eyes wide as he cocked his head. "What did you say?"
"That’s why we need Jonah. There is a branch that can support our weight, but other branches will be blocking your way. You will have to be lower to make the shot. Jonah will be holding you by your legs as you make it. You will need to be steady to take the shot. Also we won’t have much time. How tall are you?"
"Tall enough for my feet to reach the ground. I’m not going to be making a shot upside down!" Robin stressed.
"I think your friend will want you to." Jaime pointed to Jonah. Jonah had his knife out. He pretended to slash his neck.
"Fine." Robin sighed out in resignation. "We’ll try it upside down."
They walked up to the platform. Robin climbed his way to the top. Jonah followed up after him. As the large man reached the top Robin eyed him suspiciously.
"And what makes you think I trust this man with my life in his hands?" Robin called down to Jaime.
"Because he wants the Diamonds just as much as we do." Jaime called up. Robin found a bow and arrow waiting for him.
"Don’t get any funny ideas either Robin Hood." Jaime warned him. "Even if you kill one of us with that arrow. Your friend will never make it out alive."
Robin eyed the arrow tip. There was an elaborate setup on the tip of it. Showing it to Jaime he asked as he waved it in the air.
"Its something that Mr. Switch invented. When the arrow passes through the slit, it opens up. When we pull back on the string attached, it will lock in." Robin eyed the string attached to the arrow. "I see. I have to make a shot through a narrow slit, upside down, with a heavy device attached to the arrowhead. With a string attached." Laughing out sarcastically he said "Piece of cake."
"That’s what I told Mr. Switch." Jaime proudly said.
"I was joking!" Robin yelled back.
"I wasn’t about your friend." Jaime countered.
Robin sadly let out a deep sigh. Turing toward the slit he felt Jonah grab his ankles and slowly lower him down. The pressure of Jonah holding him on his legs ached, but he had to ignore it. He had to concentrate on hitting his mark. He eyed the slit. The arrowhead felt heavy. He tried to adjust for the imbalance. Drawing back he took his first shot. He just missed it, going to the right.
"You missed it." Jaime called out.
"I have to make an adjustment for the extra weight. Let me try another."
"Of course." Jaime said as he ran to fetch the arrow. He returned with it and threw it up to Robin. "That’s why Mr. Switch wants us to practice. He wants this one to go off without a hitch."
Aiming again Robin let off the shot. It went through the slit, but just barely. Jaime jumped up in the air and let out a whoop!
"I knew it. I told Mr. Switch that it would work."
Jonah pulled on the string and the Mechanism locked. Jaime let out another whoop of Joy. Robin let the bow drop down to the ground. Jaime ran to the bow and picked it up.
"We need you to practice more than that. " He yelled up to Robin.
"But I got it in the second try." Robin called out.
"I know, but Mr. Switch is a perfectionist. That’s why his jobs go off without a hitch. You’re going to have to practice that shot, until you can do it in your sleep."
Robin looked up at Jonah. The giant smiled down at him. He then shook Robin slightly to stress that they meant business. Catching the bow he shook his head.
"Looks like its going to be a long day."
End Of Chapter Two