That week was the worst Robin could remember. It seemed that every five minutes something bad was happening that the warriors had to check out. Marion’s conditioned improved dramatically with Olwyn’s tonic but she was still bedridden n the sixth day of the week. Robin and the others were exhausted beyond belief.
"I’m telling you, I know LeLora has something to do with this," Robin declared to the others on the seventh morning.
"Well whatever this witch is doing, she’s doing it great," Little John groaned. He rubbed his neck. "I’ve never felt pain like this before."
"Without Marion we can’t seem to defeat any enemy we come across. It’s almost like our energy is being snapped up, too."
"We need find this LeLora, she being the source, and rid of her first," Friar Tuck suggested.
Robin shook his head, silky brown hair billowing in the soft breeze of that spring day. "We can’t, not without Marion. She’s the only one who knows where
LeLora is located."
"I thought she was supposed to be up and around by now." Said Little John.
"So did I. I cannot figure out why the steadfast tonic Olwyn gave me isn’t working for her."
Silence fell over the warriors for a moment. Then Tuck piped up "Well, maybe if we ask her, Marion can tell us where LeLora is."
"We can’t defeat simple castle soldiers, how are we going to take on a sorceress?" Little John retorted.
Robin’s eyes lit up like candle flames. "No, Tuck is right. We have to try. Marion may be able to help us even if she can’t leave bed."
Little John opened his mouth to protest but it was too late. By then, Robin was already halfway across camp, headed for Marion’s tent to speak with her. When he got there, he didn’t bother to call out a greeting. Instead, knowing of Marion’s condition, he pulled up the leather flap and entered. What he saw shocked him completely.
Marion was awake but still in bed. She was lying back, gazing into the magical mirror that Robin had taken to Olwyn the day before. When she looked up at Robin, she blushed furiously and quickly shoved the mirror under her fur blanket. "Robin!" she exclaimed with shaky surprise.
Robin ignored her. Instead he marched across the room, pulled back the fur blanket, and plucked the mirror from the bed. He kept it held tightly in his hand despite Marion’s feeble protests and attempts to grab it back.
"I knew it," Robin said gravely. "LeLora IS controlling us through you. That’s why you haven’t healed, you keep looking into the mirror. And to think you defended her to me and the others!"
"Robin, please try to understand!" Marion cried. Her facial features were twisted into that of a 12 year-old girl. "LeLora promised me with that mirror I could win your love once and for all!"
The warrior’s mouth fell open. "Is THAT why you used this mirror to change your appearance?"
Marion suddenly blushed again at her bold statement. "Yes," she murmured.
Robin sat down on the bed next to Marion and took her soft hands in his. "Marion, you know you don’t have to change yourself or use this kind of magic to impress me! I promise you that I love you for who you are, not what you look like, you are beautiful but it’s the inner beauty that makes you radiant on the outside!"
Marion smiled. "I feel like such a fool, Robin." She sighed. "I should have known! I’m smarter than that and yet I let vanity get to me."
"Don’t worry, Marion, I know that LeLora is behind this. It’s not your fault. But now you must tell us where she is so Little John, Tuck, and I can find her.
We must defeat her right away before you are destroyed along with the rest of us."
"You cannot handle it by yourself, Robin," Marion said. "I have to go with you."
"YOU?? Marion, you cannot go. You’ll get even more hurt out there. Just tell us where LeLora is!"
Marion grinned and yanked her hands away from Robin. "Don’t argue with me."
She sprang out of bed and grabbed a crutch that Little John fashioned from spare firewood. Then she hobbled outside the tent, but not before turning to face Robin once more.
"Well? What are you waiting for?"
"I hope you know what you are doing." Robin said dryly. Marion tossed her hair and limped out of her tent. Robin couldn’t help but smile. Now that’s the spunky girl I know, he thought.
Only minutes later Marion and the other warriors were galloping deep into the countryside. Fearing for her safety, Robin rode with Marion only for the benefit of direction. But he made her promise that if a battle occurred, that she would stay out of it. Marion could do nothing but obey, for during the ride she began to feel sick to her stomach. She wanted to tell Robin, wanted him to turn back, but she stayed quiet. Whatever was happening with LeLora had to be dealt with then, no way around it. Once again, Marion was ready to put duty ahead of herself. Her father once called her crazy for it.
Marion draped her exhausted form over Robin’s back on the horse and whispered directions in his ear. She wasn’t quite sure how she remembered the way to LeLora’s trailer, but the instructions pored from her mouth like fresh milk. Finally, after a relatively short ride, the warriors came to the clearing near the village. Right there, next to a beautiful weeping willow tree, was LeLora’s magenta trailer.
"Is that it?" Robin asked Marion as he slowed his horse to a trot. Little john and Tuck followed suite.
"Yes," Marion murmured. "Yes, this is it." Her heavy eyelids closed and for a moment she thought she was going to fall right off the horse. Robin reached a hand back to steady her and brought his horse to a stop.
"Stay here," he instructed Marion. He dismounted his horse and motioned for the others to follow. Marion was tired but not enough to stay outside and do nothing.
"No, I am coming in," she said in a loud whisper. She stumbled off the steed and trudged behind Robin, Tuck, and Little John to the broken-down witch trailer. Robin shook his head and offered his arm to Marion but he dared not argue. There was no point in upsetting the women scorned, and especial a woman determined as Marion to be done with LeLora. "I got us into this and
I have to help get us out," Marion said as she grabbed Robin for support.
The four outlaws quietly entered the trailer expecting to find LeLora, but the small space was empty. The usual candles, the crystal ball, the spell books, everything was there except LeLora herself. Marion was immediately disappointed but Robin wasn’t giving up. He searched all around the trailer under books and in dark corners while the other outlaws looked on, unsure of what to do and too confused to act. "I don’t get it," Friar Tuck muttered under his breath.
Robin threw up his muscular arms. "There’s nothing here," he said.
Looks like we came at the wrong time."
Little John, who rarely missed a good fight, banged his large fist on a wall in frustration. Just then, towards the back of the trailer, a large painting fell from the wall where it was hanging, revealing a small crawlspace. The four outlaws crossed the trailer to investigate the small space.
Robin cautiously stuck his hand in the space and pulled out a moderately large mirror about the size of a book. The mirror sparkled with an evil, supernatural light. A small round hole near the end of the mirror signaled a piece was missing. Marion took her small mirror out of her pocket, the one LeLora had given her, and fitted it into the larger mirror. It fit perfectly.
"This must have been the mirror Olwyn was talking about," Robin said.
"That must mean that this is the seat of LeLora’s power.," Marion explained. "To defeat her we have to break this mirror!"
"Well, that’s easy!." Little John said. He pushed his way between the others and took a strong hold of the mirror. Then he lifted it up high above his head and threw it down with incredible force. The mirror clattered loudly as it hit the floor, but it remained perfectly intact. The warriors were stunned.
"What the…" Tuck whispered.
"Obviously this is no ordinary mirror," Robin said with a game half-smile. "Maybe since LeLora isn’t around we can take this mirror to Olwyn and he can break it."
Robin bent to retrieve the mirror and the group dragged it outside. They were almost safely to the horses when suddenly all four of the warriors froze.
Some invisible force had them rooted to the ground. The same force suddenly whipped the mirror out of Robin’s hands and sent it flying right into the arms of a fifth person present. The outlaws turned their heads in time to see LeLora standing by the weeping willow tree that sheltered her trailer. "Always nice to have guests," she cackled in a voice very different than Marion remembered. LeLora gentle set the mirror down by the steps of her trailer.
"Stop this," Robin cried as he tried to move. "You know your magic is no match for us."
LeLora pranced over to frozen outlaws. "You must be Robin Hood. Hello Marion! Nice to see you have returned with friends! Now you all shall parish like many before you."
"We know what you are doing," Robin spat through gritted teeth. "We won’t give up without a fight."
LeLora crossed her arms, looking incredibly bored. "Very well, then. You heroes have no drama." She waved her bony fingers and the outlaws were free to move again. Then LeLora pulled a magic scepter-like wand out of thin air. "Prepare to meet your maker!" She cried.
Marion ran to hide behind the weeping willow tree as the men went to take on LeLora. She felt as helpless as a forest animal in a cage. I cannot just sit here and do nothing! She thought. Desperately, she looked around for something to grab since she didn’t have her sword. Maybe the fallen branch of a tree would work.
But then Marion’s gaze came to rest on the mirror lying on the trailer steps. There was no way that she could get past LeLora, who was guarding the mirror as she faced off against the other warriors. So Marion picked up a rock lying near by and threw it hard at the mirror. As she figured, the rock knocked against the mirror and fell harmless to the forest floor. Marion cursed.
The rock didn’t go unnoticed. LeLora glared at the mirror, then turned and hissed a warning to Marion. "You’re next, you little brat," she screeched. Then she turned back to Robin just as he came at her with his razor-sharp sword. She threw her right hand up and flashed a beam of blue light at him. He fell backward, clutching at his arm just as Tuck and Little John started in on the fight.
Marion never recalled being so frightened in her life. The power LeLora had was so strong, it seemed the outlaws were truly no match for her. What would happen if they perished like she said? Prince John would surely take over the land, England would be in turmoil, and all the people of the country would live in poverty and injustice. Marion couldn’t let that happen. She banished all thoughts of negativity and focused on trying to find a way to break LeLora’s mirror.
Marion watched in horror as LeLora fought off Robin, Tuck, and Little John with no trouble. "Hehehehehe," she cried. "It’s too bad that none of you are so very ugly, that way you could defeat my powers!!!"
Marion glared at the witch for the comment, but suddenly it hit her: ugly! That’s it! Marion remembered hearing kids tease each other about being so ugly they could break mirrors. Of course! Why hadn’t she thought of it before?
Marion racked her brain for ideas on how to make herself ugly enough to break the mirror. Only one solution popped up. Bracing herself, Marion leaped from her hiding place behind the tree and, despite her bad leg, hobbled over to Friar Tuck. He and Little John were holding back from the fight as Robin took LeLora on in a sword-wand fight.
"Psst. Hey Tuck!" Marion said. "Do you still have that putty on you?"
Little John turned to her in shock. "Is that ALL you can think about at a time like this?" he cried out loud.
"Just give me the putty if you have it," Marion demanded. She held out her shapely hand. Tuck shrugged and pulled the flesh-colored goop from his pocket. Then he placed it Marion’s palm and shook his head. Marion ran back to the willow tree.
She remembered the fake nose that Little John shaped a few days earlier. Quickly she molded the squishy concoction into a long, ugly nose and pushed it into the creases of her own. Then she took some putty pieces and smashed them into her face, creating lesions and warts on her cheeks. For good measure Marion picked up some fallen tree twigs and stuck them in her hair. She was set to face the mirror.
Marion glanced to Robin who was still fighting with LeLora. "I am getting bored of this, warrior," LeLora yelled at Robin. "I should just kill you now and be done with it."
"Robin!" Marion cried. "Lead her away from the mirror!"
Robin tried his best to keep the fight going but he knew LeLora’s patience was failing. He moved back away from LeLora and she followed. That allowed Marion enough room and a tiny, tiny time frame to make it to the mirror.
On light footsteps Marion threw herself towards the mirror. Falling on her abdomen, Marion quickly sat up and grabbed the Mirror. She threw her head back, looked into the mirror, and glared hard. At first it looked as thought nothing would happen, but then mirror started glowing with an odd blue-green light. Then the glass cracked and shattered in Marion’s face. She dropped the mirror ad fell backwards as shards of silver glass flew in all directions.
LeLora turned to see the mirror just as it exploded. She screamed so loud the warriors had to put their hands to their ears. Then, in an instant, her formed was sucked back towards the mirror. "I’ll get you!" she cried. But it was too late. The mirror sucked LeLora inward and swallowed itself until nothing was left. Suddenly the forest was quiet. Where the mirror was sat was a small could of smoke that disappeared quickly. Robin ran to Marion’s side.
The lady warrior sat up, miraculously unharmed. She scowled at the broken mirror, balled up the putty nose, and tossed it into a nearby bush.
"I’m glad you’re ok, Marion," Robin said with a smile. He picked up a small shard of glass and turned it this way and that. "But how did you think to make yourself ugly to break the mirror?"
"Think of it this way," Marion said. She brushed her silky brown curls out of her eyes. "I just thought about kids and how they claim ugliness would break mirrors. I put two and two together."
Robin dropped the glass shard and cocked his head in confusion. "But that’s not true, really you know," he said.
"This was an evil mirror, correct? Real mirrors don’t break, but this particular one did."
"I don’t get it," Robin said.
Marion rolled her eyes. "Everyone is beautiful in some way or another! Mirrors don’t break under ugliness because everyone is beautiful. Nobody is ugly, that is, unless, they have a bad heart. That’s a different story."
"Beautiful theory," Friar Tuck commented.
Little John, who was standing near the group but paying no attention to the conversation, patted the breast pockets and then the ones in his pants.
"Marion," he called out. "What happened to my putty?"
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