The Greatest Warrior
By Virginia Cavazos
Chapter One
A Fateful Decision

Part Two

Robin was awakened to the most horrible smell. As he opened his eyes, things looked blurry to him. As his sight began to focus he could now see where the horrible smell came from. Standing over him was the biggest, meanest, dirtiest, dog he had ever seen. It was then that Robin realized that he was lying flat on the ground. He flinched as someone was kicking him in the sides.

"Get up you!" a gruff voice ordered.

Robin looked up to see an equally mean, dirty looking man staring down at him. He was no taller than Friar Tuck but twice as wide. The Mongolian's black eyes stared down at Robin. His dirty hair fell down to his shoulders. Some of it hung loosely in his eyes. Looking at his eyes Robin realized that this man was from the same country as Master Ika. He was a Mongolian. Drawing his foot back the dirty man prepared to kick Robin again. Robin reacted first. He rolled to the side to get out of the way. Slowly rising he gave a hard look at the unknown assailant. Robin then noticed there were others around. Two stood with the larger man. They wore the same mean look as the larger man, but they were not from Mongolia, but fellow countrymen.

"Who are you? And Where’s Ralph?" the Mongolian spat out.

"I don’t’ know who this Ralph is." Robin hissed in anger. "But I was on my way home. I must have fallen asleep in the saddle. The next thing I know I wake up to see your ugly faces."

The Mongolian laughed heartily. So did one of the others.

The tallest man had Robin’s weapons in hand. He was closely examining them.

"Looks like this one might be a fighter Alan! "

The youngest of the men scrutinized Robin up and down. He nodded his agreement.

"Joseph is right Cho. This stranger looks just like a fighter! He has the right build. And has the look in his eye. I can always tell!"

An evil grin cracked Alan’s face. Recognizing that the men were up to no good. Robin slowly started to back away; he warmly smiled at the men, nodding his head as he kept backing up.

"Well if its all the same to you gentleman, I think I’ll take my leave."

"You are not going anywhere!" Cho chuckled. Pointing at Robin He barked out an order. "Get him Nero!"

The large dog leaped into the air. Landing on Robin. Driving him to the ground, he landed flat on his back with a grunt. The dog stood on Robin’s chest. He reached up and tried to push the dog off but it was to heavy. A growl came from deep inside its chest. His lips pulled back revealing a set of very sharp teeth. Laughing Cho came up to the dog. Grabbing its spiked collar he pulled at Nero to get him off of Robin. Joseph and Alan then reached down and grabbed Robin by the arms, pulling him up.

Cho went up to Robin, grabbing his hair. He jerked roughly on it bringing Robin’s head back. Robin let out a groan. Staring into Robin’s face, Cho then started examining him physically.

"You do look like a fighter," he mumbled. His breath had a foul stench.

"You think?" Joseph enthusiastically asked.

"You think we can use him?" Alan finished.

Cho began to poke and prod Robin. He flinched as Cho brutally manhandled him. Alan and Joseph held tightly to Robin as Cho completed his physical examination. He opened Robin’s mouth examining his teeth. Squeezed his arms so hard that Robin let out a groan of pain. Not bothered by Robin’s cries of pain, Cho kept up his examination. Robin felt like an animal up for auction. As he finished his rough handling Cho nodded his head in approval.

"You are in good shape. Better than Ralph…perhaps?"

Letting Robin’s hair go Cho laughed heartily. Joseph and Alan joined in. Robin shook the sting out of his head.

"And we can use him like Ralph, right?" Joseph asked.

"Sure Joseph. I bet the master is going to love this one," Alan agreed.

Looking hard into Robin’s eyes Cho said in an ominous tone.

"I might train you myself."

"I’m not going anywhere with you!" Robin emphatically stated.

Jumping up, he executed a back flip. Twisting in their arms, Joseph and Alan were forced to let go of Robin. Robin then jumped up and kicked Alan in the back, forcing him to the ground. He whirled around and backhanded Joseph before he could have a chance to react. Jumping up, he kicked Joseph in his gut. Joseph grabbed his stomach trying to catch his breath. Having incapacitated both men, Robin fled towards the forest.

He knew he had to hurry. That beast would only take a second to catch up to him. Reaching to the ground, he picked up a branch that had been lying on the road. Spinning around, he steadied himself for the impending attack. Robin was surprised to see the beast still standing by its master. Cho remained standing in the same spot, his hands casually placed on his hips. His eyes sparkling with knowledge of something that Robin didn’t know. It was then that Robin felt heavy breathing behind him. By the time he reacted to it, it was too late. He fell to the ground in a whoosh, as another dog jumped on him and pushed him to the forest floor. As he fell the branch flew from his hands.

"Good boy Caligula!" Cho shouted. Robin tried to move under the massive animal’s weight. He froze when he felt the huge jaws clamp around the back of his neck. One move and those jaws would bite down on him.

Cho rushed over to Robin, he ordered Caligula to get off him.

"Let go! We cannot let anything happen to our new fighter!"

The dog at first hesitated to let go. The sent of blood on Robin was strong. The dog smelled Ralph. After some vocal insistence, and a few slaps on the back of the head, the dog finally let Robin go.

Alan and Joseph were still trying to catch their breaths as they ran up to Robin. Grabbing him by his arms, they pulled him up. Robin squirmed in their tight grip, he struggled to get away. Cho came up to Robin’s face. Robin held his breath as Cho spoke to him. His foul breath was overpowering.

"That was very fancy what you did back there. I think you will work out just fine. You do as I say and you might live to see tomorrow. If you don’t..." Cho ran a finger across his neck. Mocking a throat being slit.

Grabbing Robin’s tunic he brought Robin’s face closer to his. As he spoke his foul breath made Robin want to black out.

"And if for any reason you think you can escape from me. I think my boys might have something to say about it."

The two massive dogs jumped towards Robin. Cho released Robin and held on to both of the dogs spiked collars. He fought to keep them from tearing Robin apart. Cho chuckled when he saw how close one came to Robin’s face. Robin stood his ground though. He tried not to show the animals any fear.

"Don’t worry," Alan chuckled, as he patted Robin’s back. "We won’t let any harm come to that pretty face of yours. But as for your other body parts! Well now that’s another thing!"

Laughing at his joke, Alan started dragging the protesting Robin into the forest, with Joseph helping him. Cho took the lead. The dogs were keeping a close guard over Robin. He had no idea where he was being taken. But he knew it wasn’t going to be good for his health. His only thought now was that he hoped his companions in Sherwood would be able to find him. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t be missed for at least 2 days! Even Little John would have a hard time finding him. The trail would be cold by then. Closing his eyes, Robin thought of his Marion. Her beautiful face smiled at him. If only she could hear his thoughts. He flinched as Joseph dug his nails in Robin’s arm, to force him to walk faster. It looked like he wasn’t going to be seeing Sherwood for some time.

"Marion!" he softly sighed. As he was dragged through the dark forest.

*** *** ***

Marion suddenly woke up. Raising her head she looked around her tent. The tent was in almost total darkness. The shadows of the night played along her walls. Sitting up, she pulled the covers off and brought her legs over to the ground. Bringing her hand up she brushed her auburn hair from her eyes. Sighing she said to herself.

"I swear I heard Robin calling to me."

As she stood up she felt a chill run up her spine. Something was wrong. She knew that something was definitely wrong with Robin. The feeling was strong, overpowering. Something inside her told her She had to leave. And she had to leave now!

Quickly she dressed. Packing some things she prepared for a long journey. She knew deep inside that it was going to be a long journey.

*** *** ***

Little John awoke with a start. He listened closely, he thought he heard some noise coming from outside of his tent. Being a light sleeper he was always alert for any suspicious noises. Hearing the noise again. He quickly rose from his bed. Grabbing his quarterstaff he slowly pulled back the flap on his tent. Gazing into the night, he spied a hooded figure walking towards the horses. Cautiously he made his way towards the horses. As he came up from behind, the figure twirled around pulling out its sword. The swords tip came up to Little John’s neck. Little John froze. A gasp came from under the hood. Marion pulled the hood back.

"Little John! Don’t ever sneak up on me like that again. You could have been killed!"

John started breathing again when Marion lowered her sword. Sheathing it back she gave him a scolding look. Shaking her head, she resumed saddling her horse.

"What are you doing up so late Marion? And where are you going?" Little John was curious as to why Marion would be going somewhere in the middle of the night. As Marion attempted to pick up her saddle, Little John brushed her away and picked it up himself. He saddled the horse for her, waiting for an explanation.

"I don’t know Little John," she started began as her explanation. "I woke up hearing Robin calling me. Something tells me that he’s in great danger. I have to find him now. I know if I hesitate, that something dreadful will happen to him." Exasperation tinged her voice. "Your probably thinking I’m silly for going out in the middle of the night, simply on a feeling."

Little John pulled the cinch on the horse tight. Turning he looked down at Marion. She looked frightened. Frightened for Robin. John always thought he had a strong connection to Robin. But Marion’s was stronger. If she felt something was wrong. Then Little John knew it must be true. Her blue eyes pleaded with him. They were filled with worry. Worry for her Robin.

"Marion, I don’t think your silly. You and Robin have something special."

Marion smiled up at the gentle giant. His kind eyes showed such innocence, but there was also wisdom there.

"Thank you Little John."

As she began to mount the horse, Little John placed his large hands on hers. Thinking he was trying to stop her, she jerked them out of his grip. He put his hands up in protest.

"Marion, I’m not trying to stop you. I want to go with!"

Marion’s face turned red in embarrassed. She should have known better.

"All right Little John."

With her blessings, he began to run back to his tent. "Please hurry," she called out. "Oh and by the way."

"Yes Marion?" John asked, his long blond flew as he jerked his head back.

"You have the cutest legs!" she giggled.

John looked down, realizing he was still wearing his bedclothes. Blushing, he turned and quickly went back to his tent. Marion waited impatiently for Little John to return. After about a 20-minute wait, she decided to leave without him. It was then that she saw Little John coming fully clothed. He carried his quarterstaff and a large sack on his back. Behind him she saw the reason for the long delay. Friar Tuck and Kemal were with him. Each carried a small bag with them. As they came up to Marion Little John looked apologetic.

"Well I didn’t want to leave them behind."

"The more the merrier," Marion sighed. She knew that she would need their help. Besides, they were also worried about their missing leader. She mounted her horse. Impatiently she waited for Little John, Tuck, and Kemal saddled their horses. The three then mounted, bringing their horses alongside Marion they asked in unison.

"Where to?"

Marion really didn’t know where. She just had this strong feeling that she had to get to Robin.

"I guess the road to the village Robin went to is a good start."

As she urged her horse on, she suddenly brought back the reins. Bringing it to a stop.

"Wait we have to tell the others where we're going!"

"Already taken care of." Little John assured her. "We left a note for Shawn to find in the morning." She should have known. Little John was always thinking. He was always the sensible one. Kicking her horse, once again she exclaimed.

"Well then, lets be off."

"Right!" The three men said in agreement. And silently they made their way out of the camp. Marion had tried to hide from the others how worried she was about Robin. A black feeling had engulfed her heart. She knew something dreadful was happening to Robin. She only hoped that they would find him in time.

End of Part 2

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