The Greatest Warrior
By Virginia Cavazos
Chapter Seven
Men of Honor...

Part Twenty Six

The Master slowly strolled down the corridors. She sighed for the 100th time, as she walked alongside Little John. The fireworks display had been spectacular. Little John was amazed at the brilliant colors in the sky. He never witnessed such a display in all his life. With every gasp of joy Little John made, the Master giggled like a young girl.

"I hope Elizabeth isnít mad about not being invited for dinner, but I wanted it to be special Johnny. Just the two of us." Her iron grip on Little Johns arm was starting to cut off the blood to his hand.

"Oh no, Iím sure she didnít mind. She told me she was going to watch the Mongolians as they trained. She really was impressed by their fighting."

The Master smiled up at Little John. "They are impressive arenít they. Oh here we are now." Little John let out a sigh of relief. The Master released his arm, he could feel his hand again. The Master opened the door that led to her private chambers. She motioned for Little John to enter. Little John bowed gracefully, then entered the chamber. The Master had a contented smile on her face as she closed the doors.

Little John moved around the room, nodding his approval at what he saw. "Yes, this is a very fine room you have here. Very...functional." Little John said this as he spied a wall covered in different types of whips. Noticing the stares, The Master walked up to the wall.
"Like them?" she asked. She took one of the whips down from the wall.

"Here's my favorite." She showed the whip to Little John. It was a cat-o-nine-tails. At the end were thin strips of leather. Embedded in the leather were small, sharp barbs.

"Very impressive." Little John tried to hide his disgust. The whip he held, had not been cleaned since its last use. Bits and pieces of things were left on the barbs. The Master slapped the whip in her hand.

"Oh yes, I love the whip, it gives me an advantage. Lets me handle things from a distance." She gently brought the whip back and flung it on Little Johns shoulder.

"Do you like to be taken advantage ofÖJohnny?" The master huskily asked. Little John gulped. He knew what she wanted, he just didnít think that she would want it that fast.

"I...I...Iím a little thirsty, it was hot in that arena." Little John stuttered out. "Do you have something to drink?" Little John tried to feign weakness. Thinking herself a bad hostess, The Master ran to a table to fetch Little John some wine. Opening a decanter, she poured some for him, then for herself. She casually walked with the two glasses to a table that stood next to a large couch. Placing the two goblets on the table, she sat on the couch. Coyly looking up at Little John, she patted the couch next to her.

"Please Johnny, sit down. Youíll find that this is a very comfortable couch."

Little John hesitated for a second, it was all up to him now to find out what was being planned for Robin. Walking up to the couch, he sat down. She picked up the glasses of wine and handed one to Little John. Wearing a forced smile on his face, Little John took the goblet. Bringing the glass to his lips, he sipped a few drops. It burned as it went down into his stomach. Little John never liked wine, lowering the glass, he had to lie to her.

"Mmmm, this is very good wine. Some of the best Iíve ever tasted. Would I be able take some home with me?" Little John shivered as he felt The Masters hand gently stroke his thigh.

"Of course Johnny," she whispered softly. "Anything you want."

Little John gulped down what was left of the wine. Smiling nervously to her, he placed the empty glass on the table. The Master scooted closer to Little John, he scooted farther down the couch.

"That was a great battle by that King Richard," Little John squeaked. The Master placed her hand on Little Johns knee, giving it a gentle squeeze.

"He is a good fighter isnít he." Leaning over she brought her face closer to Little Johns. Little John felt a rivulet of sweat running down his face.

"Y...y...yes." Little Johns voice broke. Clearing it, he tried again. "Yes he is a good fighter. I donít think Iíve seen any better."

The Masters hand on Little Johns knee slowly moved farther up the inside of his thigh.

"Oh I donít suppose you have." The Master drew herself closer to Little John. He moved back as far as he could go.

"How long have you known Robin?" The Master asked Little John.

"A long time." Little John quickly answered. The Master chuckled as Little Johns face flushed red, once he realized what was said. Sitting back The Master smiled at him. It was a smile that made his heart grow cold.

"How long have you known?" Little John gasped.

"Behind you Robin!" The Master mimicked. She laughed wickedly. "Actually, it really didnít click until Prince John informed us that King Richard was really Robin Hood." Standing up, The Master started pacing the room. Little John remained on the couch. She knew who he was now. His fate was in her hands. As The Master paced, she saw the concern in Little Johns passionate blue eyes. She let out a deep sigh.

"Donít worry Little John." Pausing, The Master asked, "That is your name isnít it? Little John?" Little John quietly nodded. "Then the others must be Marion, and Friar Tuck. I still canít quite figure out who David is though."

Little John remained quiet about Ralphís identity.

"What are you going to do now?í Little John quietly asked.

The Master sat back on the couch scooting next to Little John. She placed her hand back on Little Johns knee. "I really do like you Johnny. I have never felt for a man the way I do you." No longer playing a role Little John, now looked at her with disgust. She just chuckled at this.

"I really donít care what you think about me. All I want is a companion. And I think I just found one." Little John jumped off the couch. He pulled himself up to his full height, looking as menacing as he could.

"I will never feel for you in that way!" Little John strongly declared. Standing up to him, The Master gently patted Little John on the chest. "If I do something special for you. Will you at least agree to be my companion?"

Little John let out a big laugh at this statement. There was nothing she could say that would make him want to live with her.

"Not even if I let Robin Hood go?" The Master asked. With that said, Little John stopped laughing. She slowly started stroking Little Johns chest.

"I knew I could find something we could agreed to." The Master clutched Little Johns hand, bringing it to her chest. Little John wanted to rip if from her grip, but he knew she was in control now. "Now then, there are five of you here, and you have probably been spending your time planning a way to help Robin Hood escape from here. Am I right?"

Little John just mutely nodded his head. "Well then, you just do that." Little Johns eyebrows went up in disbelief. The Master tried to explain herself.

"You see, if Iím to help Robin Hood escape, I need a scape goat, someone to blame. I can blame your friends." She smiled up at Little John, laying her head on his large chest.

"You donít have to tell me now Johnny, talk it over with your friends. If they agree, then I will arrange to have Robin Hood released. With the distraction your friends can furnish, Ian will think that Robin Hoods friends managed the escape, and you can stay with me." She moved her head to look up at Little John. His face was a mask of confusion and horror. He wanted desperately to help Robin, but he would have to give up his life as a free man to accomplish that. He would be spending, what was left of his life, here, with The Master. Noticing the look of apprehension, The Master stepped back. Clutching both of Little Johns hands she led him towards the door.

"Talk it over with your friends, let me know tomorrow." Little John started to leave, he hesitated at the door.

"What about all the money you said you were going to make from betting on Robin? Are you going to give that up?"

The Master stopped pulling Little John. He was smarter than she thought. Releasing her grip, she patted a purse that hung on her side. The money inside jingled at her touch.

"After Robin Hood wins the tournament tomorrow, Iíll have enough money to live like a queen. I wonít be needing him anymore."

The master reached back and opened the door. Little John started to leave, The Master brought her hand up on his chest to stop him. Clutching a strand of his long blonde hair, she pulled his head down. Reaching up, she planted a warm kiss on Little Johns unwilling lips. Releasing him, she whispered, "So youíll know what youíll be getting. Iíll talk to you tomorrow."

Her cheeks blushed as she walked back into the room. Little John remained rigid in the doorframe. After a few seconds, he walked out of the room. Once the door was closed behind him he brought his sleeve up to wipe his mouth. The disgusted look remained on his face all the way back to his room.

When Little John first entered the room, Tuck could tell by the look on his face, that all had not gone well.

"What happened?" Tuck gently said, he had been sitting on his bed. He rose to meet Little John in the middle of the room.

"The Master wants to make a deal," Little John softly said.

Marion jumped off her bed. "What do you mean she wants to make a deal?" Kemal stepped up to where Little John stood. Only Ralph remained sitting on his bed. He said he was exhausted from having to sneak around trying to steal the black powder. A bag of it sat on Tucks bed.

Little John tried to hide his fear, but he was never one to be able to conceal his emotions. "Marion, she knows who we are. She heard me yell out Robinís name." Marion tightly gripped Little Johns arms. "Is she going to turn Robin in to the Prince?" Marion was now concerned for Robin. If The Master knew who they were, then all was lost for them to help him escape.

"She told me that if I stay here with her as a companion, that she would release Robin." Little Johns head fell to his chest, the thought of being with that woman was to much for him to bear.

"Well of course you refused Little John." Tucks voice was forceful in what he said. There was no possible way he was going to let Little John give up his life to live with the Master.

"She said I could let her know my decision tomorrow. After I talked it over with the rest of you."

"Well I vote we let Little John become The Masters new play thing." A voice was heard from the back of the room.

"You have no vote!" Kemal hissed at Ralph. His look was so venomous that Ralph shrank back. "Sorry, I was just making a suggestion. It seemed like the surest way to get Robin Hood out of here. With the help of his Abductor."

"Why are you still wearing that beard?" Little John asked Ralph. He lay on the bed, with his beard still pasted on.

"Iím just being cautious. I donít want the master to barge in again with it off." Little John nodded at Ralphís reasoning.

The four huddled together to talk things over. Not wanting to be a part of the discussion, Ralph, tuned his back to them and instantly went to sleep. They argued with Little John until morning. When the sun rose, they still had not decided on what to do.

*** *** ***

Robin felt someone pulling him out of his bed. He was surprised to find it was Cho. He usually woke up before Cho arrived, but he was so tired this morning from the fighting last night. The wound at his back ached as Chun pulled on him. Cho brought Robin up to a sitting position. Shoving a cup of hot tea in his hands, he growled, "Drink this!"

Placing it to his lips, Robin sipped it down. Yawning, he tried to wake up. Cho handed Robin his shirt. Looking at it, he noticed that Cho had repaired the torn in it made by the pick.

"Quickly, finish your tea. We have something to do this morning." Robin gulped the tea down, "What is it?" he asked Cho.

Cho walked up to Robinís window, keeping his back to Robin.

"It is something that must be done my warrior," Cho quietly said.

Curious, Robin finished off the tea and dressed. When he was done, Alan walked into the room.

"You look better today Robin," Alan joyfully said. He had slept well, the drug in the food gave him a very restful night. Looking concerned, Robin jerked his head in Choís direction. Alan spied Cho standing in front of Robinís window. His shoulders seemed tense, there was something different about him. Once Robin stamped his foot into his boot, Cho turned. The look on his face was very grim, it frightened Robin.

"What's wrong Cho?" Alan asked. Cho didnít answer him, he walked towards the door.

"Come now King Richard."

He opened the door, Robin walked up to him. Nero and Caligula took their place by his side. Alan tried to keep up with them. It seemed as if Cho was rushing them. As they entered the corridor, they headed down towards the Arena. Walking through the corridors, they ran into a small group of people. Cho recognized them as the group that wanted to buy King Richard. The woman gazed at King Richard with those possessive eyes, Nero growled at her. Excusing themselves, they backed off. Robin glanced back at his friends as they walked down the corridors.

"Let's follow them," Tuck whispered.

"Right," Marion agreed. They carefully pursued the small procession.

Robin definitely knew something was terribly wrong, instead of going to the arena; they were heading towards the front courtyard. For the first time since he was brought to the arena, Robin was walking in the courtyards. The bright red wagons shone brightly in the morning sunlight. Cho walked past the wagons, heading towards the stables. Marion and the others made sure to keep close to the small group. Wondering what Cho was up to.

Coming up to the stables, Cho stopped. Spinning around, he pulled on Nero and Caligula's collars. Taking them to the side of the stables, he ordered them to wait outside of the stable. Robin had a bad feeling about this. Alan also felt something was not right. Still not saying a word, Cho opened the doors of the stables and walked in. Robin followed, with Alan and the guards in tow. As they entered the stables, Robin suddenly felt hands grabbing his arms. Cho stepped aside as Robin was dragged towards the center of the stables.

"What's going on!" Robin cried out in anger.

"Muzzle it!" a deep voice was heard to growl in English.

Robin was hit behind his knees, forcing him to kneel down on the ground. A foot was placed under each arm stretching his arms out as far as they would go. A man came up behind Robin. Clutching his hair, he pulled Robinís head back. As Robin gasped out in pain, something was plunged into his open mouth. A strip of cloth was tied at the back of his head to keep it in. Once the gag was in place, the man released Robinís hair, he walked back out of sight.

Robin was painting from the strain. It felt like his arms were being pulled out of his sockets. He felt a finger under his chin. Raising his head, he looked up into the eyes of Lu Chang.

"It does not look so great to me." Lu Chang chuckled. He was speaking English now to Robin. Robinís eyes were on fire. Lu Chang pulled his hand back, slapping Robin on the side of his face. Robinís head jerked back from the blow, Cho ran up to Lu Chang.

"Do what you must do!" he yelled out. "But you are not to beat him."

Lu Chang cackled, "It will live." Lu Chang snapped his fingers. Robin glanced behind him. A man was coming up with a slave collar in hand. He handed it to Lu Chang.

"Why Cho?" Alan cried, running up to Cho.

They were going to put a slave collar on Robin!

End of Part 26

Part 25 / Part 26 / Part 27 / Part 28

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