By Virginia Cavazos
Little John ran ahead, he was humming, as he skipped in the empty streets. Whirling around, he had a silly grin on his face. "I haven’t had that good a time in years Will," he giggled, wrapping his arms across his chest. "Thank you."
"I’m ‘appy fo’ you," Will gruffed, as he tried to steer clear of the intoxicated giant, as they headed towards the Inn they were staying in. The streets were dark, and bare, they had stayed in the pub a little longer than he had intended. Will stormed down the streets. This was a first for him, he was the sober one! This was something that was totally foreign to him. His head bent in deep thought, he did not see the human wall that blocked his way.
"Watch where you’re going!" a deep voice rumbled, as Will slammed into him.
"I was goin’ to say the same thin’," Will shot back, he planted his feet, refusing to move out of the way. Taking his knife out, a cocky grin parted his lips, as he began to whirl the knife in the center of his palm. Normally Will expected Little John to come to his rescue. By talking the rowdy out of fighting with him, but tonight was not a normal night.
"You leave my friend alone!" a hand shot out, as Little John shoved the large man back. Will gulped as he spied four other men moving out of the shadows. "Looks like its goin’ to be a long night." Will moaned, rolling his eyes.
The four men were now standing behind the human wall, "What was that? Me and my four friends didn’t hear you." The large man said, cupping his hand to his ear.
"I said," Little John stressed his point by poking his finger on the mans chest with each word, "Leave – my – friend - ALONE!"
The talking wall crossed his arms, cocking his head he said with a grin, "Is that suppose to scare me…little Man."
Will jumped between Little John and the five combatants, as good as the both of them were in fighting. Will knew, in Little Johns intoxicated state. They would not last long.
"Look Dover," Will began.
"The name is Chauncy," the man shot back.
"Oh, well, that’s much better," Will sarcastically laughed. Only to find he had to duck, as Chauncy’s ham sized fist swept around. The blow was blocked by Little John, using his quarterstaff. He fumbled with it, accidentally slamming it into Will. He let out a gasp, as his knife was knocked out of his hand. It clattered in the street. Chauncy brought his other fist around, to knock Will’s head off, it was met by a solid hand.
"If you’re looking for a fight, you found one," Little John hissed, as he wavered where he stood. He shook his head, as he felt it spinning.
"Oh, do you need your daddy to fight your battles?" Chauncy asked, in a child-like voice.
"I ain’t to proud to ‘ave a friend ‘elp me, when the time comes."
Will tried to size up Chauncy’s four friends, they were all big and ugly, a combination he always hated. Suddenly he felt a chill run up his spine, this usually meant that something was terribly wrong. Searching behind the five combatants, he saw five hooded men pouring out of the darkness, with clubs in hand. That chill flew to his heart, as one of the hoods flew off, and he recognized the man as one of the Prince’s guards that chased Robin out of town.
Grabbing Little John by the sleeve, he frantically tugged on it, as he cried out, "LJ, I thinks we should be goin’, NOW!"
"I have never walked away from a fight Will," Little John angrily replied. He blinked his eyes, he really wasn’t feeling well.
Tugging so hard, Little Johns shirt was pulled down to expose his shoulder, Will frantically shouted, as he pointed down the road, ""ow about runnin’ from one?"
Little John spied the prince’s guards advancing before them, "I’ve done that!" he shouted. Both men grabbed Little John’s staff. They rammed it into Chauncy, driving him into his four friends. Spinning around, they fled down the dark streets. Little John shook his head, he was having a hard time concentrating, he suddenly tripped, dropping his quarterstaff on the ground. He knew he didn’t have enough time to fetch it, he quickly followed Will Scarlet. They were turning a corner, by the time the guards arrived to help Chauncy up.
"I’ll get you Will Scarlet and Little John!" The man roared out, his fist thrust in the air.
That confirmed it, they knew who they were. Only the Princes men would know that. Will and Little John tore down the dark streets. John made sure to stay close to Will. He knew Will had been in this town before, hopefully he would find a place for them to hide. Will noticed Little John stumbling as he ran. His face seemed to be growing paler.
"I don’t know what’s wrong Will," Little John gasped, he clutched his stomach as they flew down the cobbled streets, "I feel so…sick."
"Don’t worry big guy, we can ditch ‘em ‘ere." Will led them down a dark alley, at the end stood a tall brick wall.
"Bloody ‘ell," he cursed, "Where did that blasted wall come from?"
"Great Will, you led us down a dead end, now what?" Little John groaned.
"Its not me fault John," Will protested, "That wall wasn’t there last time I was ‘ere."
Little John whirled around as he heard their pursuers quickly approaching. In the condition he was in, he knew they wouldn’t be able to stand up to the ten men. They would either be caught, or killed in that dark alley. Coming to a quick decision, Little John knew there was only one thing he could do to help his friend, and himself. Grabbing a struggling Will by the waist, he threw him over the wall. Will’s long legs grasped the top, holding on for dear life.
"Aww, John Little, wot the ‘ell did you do that fo’?"
" Get out of here Will," Little John called up, "I’ll need you free, to help me later."
Will knew that he was right, rolling, he fell on the ground, on other side of the wall. As he crouched down, he heard yelling coming from beyond the brick wall.
"Where is Will Scarlet?" Chauncy screamed.
"He’s busy," Will heard Little John defiantly cry back.
He heard a thunk, and a moan of pain. "This can be done the easy way, or the hard way big man."
"I’ve always liked to do things the hard way," Little John gasped out.
"Fine," Chauncy replied, "We’ll gladly oblige you."
Will heard several more clubs hitting his friend. He could feel each hit as they landed on Little John. After several seconds of silence, he heard their voices fading away.
Will quickly ran down the alley, coming around to the end of the block, he spied Little John, held fast by four men. They all struggled to keep the large man in their grips, as they dragged him down the dark alleys.
"I promise to free you Little John," Will whispered.
Will was not surprised to find the men taking Little John down the back alleys, and into the Black Cat. So, their suspicions were right, this pub was involved with the Prince.
As Will waited in the darkness, he was startled by a hand on his shoulder. Spinning around, he was surprised to see Eric and Sally standing behind him.
"Blast it Sally, you took ten years off me life!" he cursed her, as he clutched his heart.
Sally grabbed Eric by the ear, pulling on it she ordered him, "Tell him!"
"I don’t ‘ave time for this luv," Will said, "Little John’s been taken by the Princes men."
"See wot you’ve done!" Sally scolded her son.
"Wot ‘as ‘e done?" Will looked to Eric for an explanation.
His eyes dropped to the ground, as his toe began to dig in the dirt. "Well, I really liked Little John," Eric nervously said, "I saw how much me mum liked him too. So I slipped a little something in his bitters. So’s he could spend the night with us."
Lifting his head, his eyes were full of tears, as he sobbed, "I didn’t think you would be leaving so soon. I had no idea, that the Princes men were still around." Wiping his eyes, he sniffled, "I just thought he would have made a good father for me and me brothers and sisters."
Sally let out a heavy sigh, "Eric is always trying to find a husband for me Will." Shaking him by the shoulders, she said, "When are you going to learn, Eric. I can take care of meself!"
Eric silently nodded his head, "Yes Mum," was all he could say.
"You mean, ‘es done this before?" Will asked her.
"Yes, it’s getting to be a pain!" Her look burned Eric on the spot.
"Funny, ‘e never tried it with me," Will wondered aloud.
Planting her hands on her hips, Sally nodded her head towards the Black Cat, "I guess it’s up to us to help you save Little John."
"’Old on Luv, as much as I appreciate your ‘elp, I really don’t think…"
"Will Scarlet!" Sally scolded him, with a shake of her finger, "We ain’t taking no for an answer. Got that?"
Will backed off, he knew if Sally had her mind set. No man could change it. "Okay luv, but first I needs to get a lay of the land."
As they crept around the Black Cat, Sally heard Will ask Eric, ""Ow’s come you never tried it with me?"
Eric never had a chance to answer, Sally warned them of men approaching. They ran to a stack of empty barrels, keeping still as five hooded men walked past them, and entered the back entrance of the pub.
"I told you there was something suspicious about the Black Cat," Sally hissed.
"I know luv, I needs to find a way to get into that pub."
"I know of a way!" Eric pleaded with Will, "Please, let me help. It’s my fault that Little John was captured."
"I appreciate the gesture," Will said as he looked at Eric with a skeptical eye. "But I ‘ave a plan of me own."
"Wot are you going to do Will?" Sally asked him.
Spying two hooded men leaving the pub, he rushed off, calling back. "Don’t rightly know fo’ sure, but wish me luck!"
"Mo…ther," Eric whined.
"I know son," Sally whispered, "He’s going to be needing our help, lets go around to the front of the pub. You can tell me your plan on the way."
Sally rushed down the dark streets, Eric took a last glance back at Will, before he followed his mother.
Will stayed in the shadows, he crept silently towards the two hooded men that left the pub. He was pleased to see them walking towards him. Looking for a weapon, he found a broken barrel stay. Picking it up, he slammed it against his palm. It was just the right size.
He waited until they were close enough to him, before he jumped out of his hiding place. He slammed one man on the back of the head, running to the other man. He pulled the stay around his neck, keeping the man’s back to him, he tugged on the stay. He was surprised to find this one was a real scrapper! He back peddled towards some broken boxes. Slamming Will hard on them, Will held on for dear life. His opponent dragged Will across the boxes, he could feel large splinters digging into his back. Will felt the mans nails clawing at his hand. The cape that the hooded man wore tore, on the wooden boxes. Will called on his last bit of strength, as he tugged harder on the stay, cutting off the hooded man’s air.
"Why don’t you die, you bastard?" Will cursed under his breath. He heard the man gasp out, "Will…Scarlet…" Before he fell limp in his arms, letting the man fall to the ground, Will let out a pleased chuckle. "I guess I’m becomin’ well known to the Princes men."
Grabbing the unconscious man by the shoulders, he dragged him behind some boxes. His hood fell away, to reveal a man wearing a patch over his eye. His long hair was tied back. Will quickly ran to the first man, dragging him, to lay next to the other man. He chose his first opponents cloak, the other was torn beyond repair. Donning the cloak, he pulled the hood over his head. Nodding his head in a salute, he chuckled. "Thanks fo’ the clothes. I always fancied I looked dapper in a cape." Spying something sparkling on the man he took the cape from, he pounced on it. "There you are me darlin’, I missed you luv," Will sighed, as he kissed the blade of his knife. Apparently this man must have picked it up, when he lost it back in the streets.
Throwing the capes edge over his shoulder, to hide his scarlet clothing, he strutted towards the back entrance of the Black Cat.
Will pulled the hood down, to cover most of his face. Checking for his knife, he opened the door.
End of Chapter Two
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