As Robin heard the crowds gasp, it gave him a spurt of energy to break from his rivals hold. Whirling around he kicked out at his opponent, he fell to the ground releasing the leash. Robin sprinted towards the swords, but it was to late. The other two warriors blocked his way. Each had a sword in hand, they flexed their other hand. A thin metal spike would appear and disappear. One of the fighters was Lu Chang's. The other was a large man. His bulk was twice as Tucks, but Robin could tell that it was all muscle.
Each trainer was busy instructing his man to attack Robin. Robin whirled around, he ran towards the post. His opponent - recovered now from the blow, was right behind him. Robin jumped up and grabbed the post. Swinging around he brought his feet out, slamming his opponent in the jaw on his return. As Robin landed, he was poked in the back with a spear. Robin was out of his circle, he was not allowed to leave until his opponent was defeated. Robinís man was hit hard, but he remained standing.
Robin was prodded back into his circle. Lu Chang had planned it well. He was to be limited to this one circle, forcing him to fight off three opponents at once. Alan screamed out in protest.
"They canít do that Cho!" Alan turned to look to Cho for support. Cho just blankly stared at the arena. "They follow the rules Alan. There is nothing we can do." Cho kept an eye on his warrior. He knew Lu Chang was going to try it, but what Lu Chang didnít know was that Cho had prepared his warrior well.
"Try it my son," Cho whispered. "Wake up the Greatest Warrior, and exonerate my Da Jing's death."
Prodded back to his ring, Robin was met immediately by Lu Chang's fighter. Robin ducked a slash from the sword, he jumped up on the return sweep. As he hit the ground, he cried out in pain. The other man had managed to slice Robin on his arm. Robin clutched at the wound, it was not deep, but enough to distract him, slow his reflexes. Robin brought his arm back. Hoping his studded gauntlet would slash at his antagonist. The man brought his sword up and blocked the blow. He pulled his sword into Robin, catching it in the studs. As Robin tried to release his arm, he was forced to defend himself from the other side.
Robin kicked up, trying to block the impending sword strike. It worked! The sword was diverted. Robin then returned his attention to the man whose sword was caught up in his gauntlet.
Robin jerked as he felt an arm reach around his neck. His original opponent had recovered enough to rejoin the battle. Robin concentrated on breaking the hold. He cringed as he felt a pick shoved into his back. Robin was actually surprised at the low level of pain, he hardly felt it.
He was unaware that it was only to serve as a distraction. Lu Chang's warrior came up to Robin. Jumping into the air, he whirled around, locking his leg out, landing a blow across Robinís head. Robinís head snapped to the side. As his opponent released Robin, his body spun around from the blow. He was stunned from the cowardly hit. Two of the Mongolian warriors grabbed Robinís arms, stretching them out. They held Robin still, as Lu Chang's fighter methodically walked behind Robin. The crowd began to boo, they were ganging up on him. Robin shook his head, trying to clear his senses from the blow. He jerked at the men who held him.
"Ian, this is most unfair!" Prince John yelled. Ian was unable to answer the Prince, the Crowds roars were deafening.
Robin was trembling as he felt Lu Chang's warrior feeling in the area of the highest pain level. Robinís eyes went wild, the only way he survived the pain the last time was with Marionís help. As he felt the pick being inserted, he searched the arena for Marion. She was out of his line of sight. He had to find her, but it was to late. The pick inserted, Robin screamed out in agony. The men held onto Robinís writhing body. Lu Chang coldly smiled at his father. There would be no spreading of ashes today. The arena suddenly went quiet. The only sound echoing in the Arena was of Robinís cries of pain.
If Robin would have looked behind him, he would have seen Marion. She somehow knew Robin had to see her. It was the only way he was able to survive the last time he was subjected to such pain. Marion jumped down from the stands, and into the arena. She ran around the ring, stopping where Lu Chang stood. Little John and Tuck followed her. Little John wanted to go to Robin, but Tuck grabbed his arms; stopping him. The men set up at the arena would kill him instantly if he tried to help. Marion screamed out to Robin, she tried to get his attention.
Standing next to Lu Chang, she couldnít let him know that this was the notorious outlaw, Robin Hood. She was careful not to use Robinís name. Robinís eyes were squeezed shut in agony. The men stretched him out. Lu Chang wanted to let all see how weak the English men were. Robin could hear someone screaming. He didnít know who it was at first, then he realized it was her. He forced his eyes open, continuing his search, to find his Marion.
Suddenly he saw her. She was standing in front of HIM, next to his enemy, Lu Chang. This angered Robin. He stared at Lu Chang with a deep intensity. His anger quickly grew. Cho had been right all the time. For Robin to become the Greatest Warrior, he had to use hate. The hate grew inside Robin, it clutched at his heart. His Marion was standing next to Lu Chang. His Marion was near the man that wanted to torture him, next to the man that wanted to keep him as a slave. Robin recalled the way Lu Chang coldly killed his opponents, with the love of his life near this man; Robinís hate grew to take him over. As the hate spread the man known as, Robin Hood no longer existed. He became exactly what Cho searched for his entire life. He becameÖ.The Greatest Warrior.
Robin jerked at his opponents hold on him. His screams died down, his eyes narrowed their focus. The pain was still there, but now The Greatest Warrior used it to give him strength. The pain heightened his senses, he could feel his opponents now. He could smell them, his sight of them was more attuned. His muscles tensed as the hate took him over. The intense pain permeated his very soul. He became the Greatest Warrior that Cho spoke of, his only thoughts now were to defeat his opponents. His only reason for being, for existing; was to fightÖto KILL!
The wound on Robinís arm was now just a memory. Only defeating his opponents were monument on the Greatest Warrior's primitive mind. The Mongolian's were startled as Robin suddenly ceased screaming. Lu Chang's fighter twisted the pick in Robinís back, thinking it would give Robin more pain. It only served to make him stronger. He jerked back, breaking the pick, it remained in Robinís back. Pulling on one Mongolian warriors arm, Robin whirled one fighter into the other. Quickly jumping into the air, he spun around. Locking his arms out, the studs on his gauntlet became a deadly weapon. It tore into Lu Chang's warrior. Robin hit the bone on his left arm with the force of the blow. The Greatest Warriors vision turned red. Everything around him was different now. He focused on his prey, his only thoughts was in defeating them. With the pick, imbedded in his back, it gave him the strength he needed to defeat the three Mongolian warriors.
The Greatest Warrior reached down at a fallen sword. Picking it up he slashed at the third competitor. This man ducked the killing blow, the Greatest Warrior could feel a man coming at him from behind. He deftly moved aside in time to avoid a blow from another sword. The Warrior ran towards the pole, two Mongolians followed him. As Robin reached the pole, he jumped into the air. Running up the pole he back flipped behind the two warriors following him. As he landed, he squatted down, slashing his sword in a sweeping cross. He sliced into the backs of his opponents legs. He was able to hamstring one. He fell screaming to the ground, the other was caught in his calf. The Greatest Warrior stalked the man that he hamstringed. Bringing the sword up, he plunged it into the mans chest, killing him instantly. His dead eyes looked up, still pleading with The Greatest Warrior to spare his life. The Greatest Warrior pulled the sword out, grinning coldly, as the man fell limply to the ground. With one opponent eliminated, The Warrior turned his attention to the other. He was the largest of the Mongolian fighters. Suffering an injury to his calf, he limped to the outskirts of the arena, attempting to get into a better position for battle.
With his original opponent now defeated, Robin was allowed to leave his ring. He followed his prey, the look in his eyes terrified the Mongolian. The Warrior took his time with this one, playing with him like a cat. The man was not a large threat to him, but he still needed to be defeated. The Greatest Warrior suddenly felt a jerk at his tether. Glancing back, he saw Lu Chang's man held tightly onto it. Robin began to flip in the air. As he continued the flipping, the tether twisted in the Mongolians hands. The leather began to burn in his hands. He was forced to release it. Landing hard on the ground, The Greatest Warrior resumed his stalking of his prey. The injured fighter was at the end of his leash he had to fight Robin, or be killed.
The Warrior coldly brought his sword up. The Mongolian was frozen by his deadly look. He weakly tried to defend himself, but The Greatest Warrior was relentless. He easily knocked the sword out of the cringing mans hands. Quickly slashing the sword back, he sliced into his knees. The Mongolian fell to the ground. Marion had to gasp in horror, as she saw her Robin bring his sword up. Her heart stopped as he brought his sword down with such a force, that he sliced the head off his opponent. The Greatest Warrior stood by his kill for a few seconds. His breath coming in short pants. A satisfied grin set on his face, his sword dripping with the blood of his opponent. The Warrior turned to face his remaining competitor. It was Lu Chang's fighter.
Lu Chang's fighter gripped his sword tightly, waiting for Robin to come to him. He began to goad Robin on, The Greatest Warrior obliged him. He immediately went into the attack. Robin's conscious was not there to tell the warrior what Jean had told him; That The Mongolians were masters in the form of defense. The Greatest Warriors only thought was for the kill. He came at his remaining opponent with a vengeance. His blows were well placed, but the Mongolian was also trained well in the art of swordplay. They clashed swords for what seemed like hours. The arena was hushed by the scene. They knew they would never see a fight of equal caliber.
The Warriors arm began to ache, but he ignored the pain. As he ignored all the others his body suffered. Lu Chang's warrior however felt his pain. His arm began to cramp as he tried to fend off Robinís unending attacks. As the fight wore on, The Greatest Warriors strength only grew. Lu Chang's mans defensive moves grew leaden, more sluggish. The Warrior was starting to wear him down.
Lu Chang screamed out to his man, he had to finish Robin soon. Marion stayed rooted where she was. She was mesmerized by the energy that Robin had in his fighting. She had never seen him fight with such a vengeance. The Warriors attacks were stepped up. He could smell the fear in his rival. He slashed the sword quickly as he could feel victory was at hand. He backed up Lu Chang's warrior as far as the leather leashes would allow. Lu Chang's warrior pulled at the leash. He tried to flee off to the side, to avoid Robinís deadly blows, but The Warrior was relentless.
He tirelessly worked on his opponent, until the man stumbled. Finding an opening, The Warrior brought his sword up for the killing blow. His only thought now was to kill his prey. He slashed as the frightened Mongolian's arm. The Mongolian fighter released his sword as tendons that held the weapon were cut. The Warrior stepped forward, plunging his sword into his chest. The man let out a blood-curdling scream, as he clutched at the sword in his chest. The Warrior coldly smiled at his opponent, giving the sword a harsh twist. Lu Chang's man screamed out one more time, then he went limp. The Warrior pulled the bloody sword out of his opponent, savoring his kill. The Greatest Warrior glanced back at the arena. The others lay still on the ground. All were dead that opposed him.
Still, The Greatest Warrior was not satisfied. He had to fight on. His senses were alive now. His only thought was for the fight, for the kill! Cho ran into the arena, Robin was clearly the winner of the tournament. As others approached him, The Warrior attacked them. His only thought now was for the fight, the battle. No one could get near enough to Robin to claim him the victor. It was up to Cho, now, the Pick had to be pulled out. It kept Robin in pain, with the pain The Greatest Warrior would remain in control, his only thoughts was to fight, to kill.
"It's all right my Warrior." Cho spoke to Robin in a soothing voice. The Warriors eyes darted at the sound. Someone was near him, he had to protect himself.
"It is done now my Warrior, you can rest."
The Greatest Warrior could see a man approaching him. He seemed to recognize him. He then heard another voice coming from behind him. Turning around, he saw a beautiful woman approaching him.
"It's all over. We can go home now." Marion walked up to her love. His eyes were wild looking. His look was of a rabid dog. Marionís soothing voice talked to Robin. Cho wondered who this woman was, then he saw the scarf wrapped around her neck. He immediately knew who this person was, it was his warriors womanÖMarion. The name Robin screamed out many a time in his room.
"It's all right. Everything is all right." Marionís voice was soft and soothing.
The Warrior became distracted by her voice. His eyes softened, his vision was no longer red. Cho cautiously walked behind Robin, he grabbed at the pick still inserted in Robinís back. Pinching his two fingers down on it, he pulled it out in one quick stroke. Robin felt a flush of relief as the pick was pulled out. His body went limp, as the pain was suddenly gone. His energy spent on the fight, he felt as weak as a newborn. Cho deftly caught Robin as he fell.
Marion was pulled by Tuck and Little John. It was time for them to go. Prince John had seen them, he was yelling at Ian as he pointed out to them. They quickly made their way towards the outside of the arena. Ralph and Kemal waited for the signal to ignite the black powder.
The crowd became confused. They were not sure if Robin was the winner. As The Master ran into the arena, the Mongolians quickly began to leave the arena. Lord Liang was ushered out of the arena. His eyes were dark in anger, as he walked past the scene of the Mongolian's defeat. He rushed out of the arena, leaving their dead behind.
Alan ran to help Cho with Robin. Cho untied the leash on Robinís slave collar. He angrily threw it aside, Robin slowly opened his eyes.
"Did I win?" Robin weakly asked. For he truly did not have a memory of what had happened. Everything he did after the pick was inserted into him, was unknown to him, even the killings.
"You won my warrior," Cho proudly said. "We won."
Cho and Alan helped Robin up. Robinís guards and the two dogs stood by his side. The crowd grew closer to greet the new Champion. The noise was deafening. It was unnecessary for The Master to declare Robin the winner. She quickly made her way to Robin. She knew she only had a few minutes to get to him, before the explosions went off. Marion pushed her way through the crowds. The last of the Mongolians had passed through the arches. Ralph and Kemal came out of their hiding places, they waited for their companions.
Cho was ecstatic, he carried the Urn with him into the arena. Searching around for Lu Chang, he found that all the Mongolians had fled. It did not matter to him. Once the crowds rushed in from the stands, Cho pulled the urn open. Spreading its ashes around the arena, he fulfilled his masters wish. He found the Greatest Warrior. Now his master could rest in peace, his ashes were spread on the victorious battlefield.
Kemal and Ralph waited patiently. They were getting nervous, until after what seemed like ages, they spied the three running towards them. As they passed under the arches, Kemal and Ralph used the torches to light the wicks, which were buried in the black powder. They then raced into the corridors.
As the Master was able to push her way to Robin, the expected explosions
went off. Cho grabbed Robin; his people were gone. They must have set them
off. The crowd screamed out in terror, there was blind panic in the masses.
"Weíve got to get him out of here!" The Master yelled at Cho. "Quickly, follow me." The Master led the way out of the arena. With the guards escorting them, Cho, and Alan half carried Robin out of the arena.
End of Part 29
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