The Purple Rose

By Verenize Bernal Curiel

CHAPTER VI "Reflections"

The Sheriff of Nottingham had completed his promise. When Robin Hood arrived at Gisborns Castle, they found only enough people, as Marion had bargained for. The Prince did not have a good journey. He was burning with fever from his arrival and his doctor-alchemist did not succeeded in lowering the fever with his remedies. Robin woke up when they arrived to the castle.

"Oh!!, you look bad Locksley." Guy told him with a malicious smile.

"To see you normally sickens me Guy." Robin dared to answer back.

"Your room is ready Marion, as you remember it; when last you passed the summers in this place" The comment of Guy was a lunge to Robin’s heart.

"Thank you" Marion knew how to mediate the situation "I could not expect less of you, but I am actually going to give my room to Robin, he requires care and needs comforts, thank you for thinking of it." Guy stayed irritated. Robin once more confirmed the audacity of the woman that he loved.

Stairways tortured Robin, he could hardly stand up and to his grief, Little John had to help him to ascend them. Guy was genuinely surprised, he never imagined seeing the famed Robin Hood like this, it was more than what he could desire.

Tuck met with the alchemist of Nottingham.

"Friar Tuck, it is a pleasure to work on the same side" The man told Tuck, who was surprised by the comment. "I have studied everything that you’ve done in the field of medicine Friar." Tuck’s reputation as excellent and creative doctor had passed over the Sherwood walls. He felt praised, but even more concerned because he didn't know how he could rely on the man.

"Sir Guy gave us a room where we can work. I have brought my instruments. My name is Philip and I’m to your employ."

"Thank you Philip" Tuck thanked him

"Then we must hurry, for time flies. I have seen to the Prince, the fever doesn't cease and nothing that I give him can control it" The man begged. Tuck saw to the Prince, at least his arm was less grave looking than Robin’s injury. Tuck gave him some tea that he prepared for the outlaw with the hope of lowering the temperature. Both passed hours trying to extract the Purple Rose poison.

Robin rested in the bed. It seemed that Tuck’s tea had quit having an effect on him and by midnight the fever was making him delirious. Marion and John tried to refresh him with wet cloths and drinks of water.

"They are working Robin" Marion consoled him "Only fight back a little, they will cure you soon, you must resist..." Robin agreed with his head and closed his eyes. Guy looked at them from the door.

The night arrived and the next day and again the night. Tuck and Phillip still had not produced the antidote. Prince John relapsed, but not worse than Robin, who had a constant and elevated fever. Marion had not left his bedside for a moment. She dampened cloths and pressed them on his face, his chest and his abdomen. She stopped a moment and looked at him intensely.

"How many times she had desired to have this darling man just like this." Marion looked at the naked young mans body under the thin sheet. "How many times she had desired to share the heat of her skin with him." she drew the contour of Robin’s body with her fingers until...until... she wet again the cloth and refreshed her own face. Moments later Little John was there to keep Robin company. Marion left the room and was met with Guy.

"You seem tired Marion. Do you really believe that all that you so are worthwhile?" Guy asked ironic.

"There are things that you never are going to understand Guy and one of them it that it really is not worthwhile to attempt to explain it to you."

"Sorry, I didn't want to offend you" He said sincerely." Why don't you tale a hot bath and have dinner with me? Anyway you’ll have to make it, Robert is accompanied."

"I believe that I will make it." Said Marion she took the bath, more relaxed than she remembered in her life. Sometimes she thought how so much she really missed the nobility’s comforts. She remembered the elegant silks that her clothing were compounded, food was prepared every day, the skin texture of her hands.

Guy took pains in planning the meals that he remembered what Marion loved to eat. He dressed up for the occasion. When Marion entered the dining room, she found him looking at the fire of the chimney.

"I wanted something simpler" Marion said when she saw the table and Guy’s look.

"I’ve not always had the fortune of dining with you" He responded with insinuation. Marion looked at him dared. "Come on Marion, if we are going to share the table for some days, why doesn't we make a truce?"

"I believed that word did not exist in your vocabulary Guy" Marion sat down.

"The fact that we don’t share the same ideas it doesn't mean that we could not be friends Marion." The beautiful woman looked up at him with strangeness." Right now, why didn't you use the clothing that I ordered were put for your disposal?"

"Because I didn't come to party, Guy, and we could be friends if you didn’t attack us constantly. In moments like this I think that you are not very conscious of the reality."

"Reality? Does the one, which Robert has made for you, do you believe? Is it reality, that you have abandoned everything that you are? You were promised much in the English court Marion." Marion breathed deeply and she looked at to his eyes.

"Who abandon who, which is the reality Guy? Robin, you and I grew up under the same conditions, only Robin didn't abandon his ideals in order to be converted as a performer of that court that you mention, and in which I was about to fall." She felt embarrassed as she recognized this.

"That doesn't avoid the fact that it is difficult for you to live in conditions of those that you live. With all the poor people and passing cold and needs and wants. And that you from time to time remember everything that you could have, if you would only make a decision." Guy looked at her remembering his marriage petition.

"I will speak for me and I will be honest Guy. It is true, I have been hungry, I have had cold and fear, and it is true. But it is also true that I now possess more important things than before. I am the owner of me, of my feelings, I am sure of my own worth, not for the titles, but for the one that I am in reality, for the one that the people poor has taught me to be. I know that I am unjust in speaking to you of something that maybe you will never understand. But those people have something to offer more valuable than some noblemen does. The only thing that they have in their hands to give are "their word and their honor," there are a few, but they are shared with equality and they know the true meaning of loyalty and justice." The same Sir Guy of Gisborn felt excited, but he suddenly returned to the reality.

"All are fighting a war Marion, how do you know that your methods are the most adequate? How are you so sure of the road that Robert is making to follow to you is the better?"

"I’m not Guy. I am not sure of the method and road are correct, but the cause is very clear, Robin Hood is worried every day that no one will be hurt. He even worries for you, who have pursued him and tortured until he is fatigued. How many times have you been under his sword? How many times did he have the opportunity of killing you and he never fulfilled that threat?" Guy kept silent and avoided the look of Marion" That is why I..."

"...That is why you love him..." The wounded man in his feelings, in his pride and in a great confusion, finished the phrase, he didn't understand why he, in that moment, had felt excited with Marion’s words.

"I have to return to his side... and thank you to for dinner." Marion left him sunk in his thoughts.

Robin was in a feverish moment. Little John was being careful with him when he perceived the concern in his friends face.

"Tuck will be swift to find a cure for you Robin, you can rely on him." John told him touching Robin’s shoulder.

"It is not that John. I was thinking of the great error that I had been committing all this time. Up to now I did not notice it."

"Error? What do you speak of my friend?" Asked the blonde giant.

"I sometimes have risked the people of the camp too, and not only that, also of the villages. I incite them to fight because I know that I am there, and I know that I am always a good motive of negotiation for Nottingham. But I am not invincible, it’s as if I always thought that I would be eternal and I would always be with you... and look at you now, if I am lacking..."

"Don’t speak about it Robin" John’s eyes became moist "You are going to be well, you will see. From worst battles you have left unharmed."

"Listen to me John, it’s not just about me, it is about the security of all those people that have followed me. If the Normands quarry disappears, the danger will be higher, persecutions, slaughters... If I die you have to help them John, you have to do that..."

"Robin, please."

"And Marion... What will become of Marion?" Robin’s face was darkened, the fear was invading him "If something happens to me. If this doesn't end like we thought, like we want it to end... I want you to take Marion to Queen Eleanor. She will take care of her, with the Queen at her home. When I am not here, I want to assure me that she will be safe and sound."

"Robin, it seems that you are considering that you are conquered. Also, Marion is not an easy woman to control... she doesn’t accept anyone to tell her what she should do, your know it better than me" John said in-joke trying to liberate the tension.

"Promise this to me John, promise this."

"I could not promise you that friend" the blonde told him sorrier. Robin posed his hand on John’s, with brilliant eyes. His dark hair fell on his face making him see the paleness of his face, accenting it. John was afraid; the expression of his best friend was making him doubt. What if this time, he didn’t get better?

Anyone of two men saw that Marion was stopped in the room’s door with her face wet from crying, sad, indignant, confused. She stayed standing there until she heard the oath of Little John. She cleaned her face and she went to look for Tuck who that night had not found anything to save Robin Hood.

"Something is missing..." He explained to Marion" But I don't know, what it is? Phillip and I have revised the formula hundreds of times and we just don't know..." Tuck was saying, until Little John suddenly entered the room.

"Hurry!!, something has happened to Robin!!" He shouted.

End of Chapter Six

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