The Greatest Warrior
By Virginia Cavazos
Chapter One
A Fateful Decision

Part Three

It was an hour’s walk to where the men left their wagon. Robin was literally dragged to the back of the wagon. He fought them all the way there. As he was brought to the back of the wagon he peered inside. There were at least 10 young men huddled together. Each one was in heavy chains. One man was left to guard them. He was a very large man, by both standards, width and height. His face turned a brilliant red, as he saw the men return with a stranger.

"Where’s Ralph? You didn’t lose him did you?" he growled.

"Don’t worry Terrance we got someone better!" Joseph gushed.

Terrance eyed the new prisoner suspiciously. Walking up to him, he physically started examining Robin. Reaching out with both hands, he manhandled him in the same manner that Cho did. Robin was starting to get angry from all the poking and prodding. He jerked out of the large mans grip. Terrance just forcefully pulled Robin back. As he was inspecting Robin more carefully, Cho came up to them with a pair of manacles. He threw them to Terrance.

"Put them on! I don’t want to loose this one!" He then went towards the front of the Wagon.

Terrance nodded his approval. "You're right Cho. This one looks like he has great potential!"

"That’s what I said!" Alan gushed with pride.

Alan and Joseph held Robin’s hands out as Terrance locked the manacles on. Robin tried to pull back, but with the three men holding him, it proved to be impossible. He was also mindful of the two dogs that were keeping a watchful eye on him.

When they were done bounding him, Robin was roughly picked up and thrown into the back of the wagon. The young men cringed as Robin rolled to the side of the wagon. Cho climbed up in the front of the wagon. The two dogs jumped on, sitting alongside Cho. Alan and Joseph climbed in the back, to sit with the prisoners. Pulling himself up alongside the two monster dogs, Terrance grabbed the reins and clucked the horses to ride into the night.

"We have to hurry to make up for lost time," Cho warned him.

"I know my job!" Terrance shot back. He whipped the reins, urging the horses to go faster.

As the wagon bumped and jerked along the road, Robin moved in the wagon to get into a more comfortable position. Hearing his movement, the dogs looked back at him. They both gave him a warning growl. Showing no fear, Robin pulled himself up to a sitting position. He half smiled at the dogs. They just gave a guttural growl and turned their attention to the road ahead. Still smiling, Robin glanced at the other young men huddled together on the other side of the wagon. Each one wore a mask of pure terror. Robin needed to find out where he was going. Apparently, the prisoners were to frightened to tell him.

"Mind telling me where I’m going!" Robin called out.

"Shut him up!" Cho yelled back.

Joseph went up to Robin. Drawing his hand back, he backhanded Robin the way he had done to him. Robin’s head was jerked back and hit the backboard of the wagon. He was stunned more from the blow. Joseph had put on a studded leather glove. He sneered at Robin.

"You don’t say nothing anymore you hear!" Joseph warned him.

"From now on you don’t talk unless its to answer a question. Your ours now!"

"Yeah, ours now!" Alan repeated. They looked at Robin now as if he was their property. Joseph sat next to Alan.

"Can you imagine what we can get for him?" Joseph asked Alan.

"I bet a lot," Alan exclaimed.

"He's not for sale. I’m taking this one," Cho called back.

Turning his head, Cho had a look on his face that told Robin that this man was a very dangerous person. Someone he had to be careful around. He had met men like him before. Robin had to be cautious about making his escape. He had to wait for the right opportunity. When it came, he would jump at it.

"You're mine now," Cho said. "I’ll make sure of that. I like what I saw back there. I think you’re what I’ve been waiting for."

Joseph and Alan started laughing at Cho.

"Hey Cho! You think you got your Greatest Warrior?" Joseph roared.

Cho gave Robin a cryptic smile. Turning his head to the front his smile grew. He gazed out at the dark road ahead. The trees of the forests passed by quickly. The cold night breeze blew on him, giving him a chill. He had felt a chill when he saw this stranger fight. He knew that this was the one he had been searching his whole life. He would beg the master if need be, to get this man. Once he was his, he would make him the greatest Warrior. Then he would finally get his revenge. Cho stared on into the darkness, as they advanced into the night.

It was not until daylight before the wagon reached its destination. Robin dozed off during the night. He was rudely awakened with a kick. His eyes squinted in the daylight, as they were approaching a crumbling old Monastery. Apparently they had taken over the abandoned Monastery for their own. The large wooden doors that guarded the monastery entrance creaked opened. Showing a full courtyard. The wagon slowly pulled in. The courtyard was bustling with men. There were some prisoners being unloaded from another wagon. Each man was in chains. They were whipped, prodded, and shoved as they made there way through the large doorway that led into the monastery.

Robin wondered how many young men were held prisoners here. They all looked to be of the same ilk. Young, strong and athletic

The wagon carrying Robin came to a stop near one of the many stables. Alan and Joseph jumped out. Bringing the back of the wagon down, they started unloading their chattel. The men cringed as each was roughly dragged from the wagon's payload. One man was particularly frightened. He stayed in the back of the wagon. His eyes wide with fear. Joseph yelled at him to come out. The man shook his head. His body trembled with fear.

"That ones no good to us!" Cho announced. Quickly bringing his dagger out, Cho coldly slit the young mans throat. The man died instantly. The look of fear remained in his dead eyes. Robin was absolutely appalled by the thoughtless act. Cho noticed the look on Robin’s face. He chuckled as he jumped down from the wagon.

The two giant dogs followed after him. He walked to the back of the wagon. Reaching in he grabbed Robin by the chain on the manacles, dragging him out of the wagon. Robin brought his legs out to kick at Cho. Anticipating Robin’s actions, he moved quickly to the side. The swift movements of the heavy man surprised Robin. He didn’t think he had it in him. It was not the first time that Robin would be surprised by the heavy set man.

Pulling Robin out, Cho threw him towards the ground. Robin fell to the ground with a thud. His long brown hair flew out as he hit the ground. Quickly he jumped up, flipping his head back. His hair flew back to clear his vision. He wanted to be sure to face his adversary. Cho's eyes lit up.

"You are a fighter, aren’t you!"

"Who is this?" a light voice asked.

Robin searched for where the voice came from. He saw a tall, slight man coming towards them. His hair was thin and strawberry blond. He was dressed as a lord. Wearing a Blue velvet coat and a lacy white shirt. For all appearances, it seemed as if he didn’t belong here.

He was not the one that made the statement however. It was the person walking next to him. She was a slim, but hardy looking woman. Her black hair was braided in the back; it fell to her waist. She was dressed in men’s clothing, but there was no mistaking she was a woman, She looked to be no more than 20 years old, but in her eyes Robin could see that there was more to this woman. Her eyes practically glowed with evil intent. Robin knew instantly, this was not a woman to be trifled with.

"Well, well Cho. Who is this nice looking package, and what happened to Ralph?" Anger was heard to lace her voice.

Cho actually bowed to the young woman. Allen and Joseph did the same. Robin wondered exactly what this young woman was like, if these cold-blooded killers feared her.

"Master, Ralph managed to escape." Cho cringed as he made the statement. The young woman’s face flushed red with anger.

"How?" she hissed through gritted teeth.

"I do not know. He was with us and then he was gone." Cho’s head bowed lower.

"I didn’t want you to take him with you but you insisted!" She closed her eyes in impatience.

"I’m sorry master!" Cho’s head bowed so low that his chin hit his chest.

"Sorry doesn't bring him back!" the Master growled. Robin saw Cho take a step back, as her hand fell upon the handle of a large whip, she wore on her hip.

"Master, I think this man is more than capable to take Ralph's place."

Her hand still poised on her whip, she turned he attention towards Robin. "Who do you have here?" The master eyed Robin up and down. She gave him a hungry look. Robin felt dirty from the look.

"Hmm not bad to the eyes. What do you think Ian?"

The young lord gave Robin the same look as the master. Robin nervously smiled.

"Don’t worry my pretty. Ian here only loves himself. His heart isn’t big enough for anyone else." The master laughed at her joke; she ordered Alan and Joseph to hold Robin still, as she began to examine him. Once again, Robin was forced to endure the humiliation of another thorough examination. It was beginning to become irritating to him. They treated him like livestock. The Masters examination however went a little farther down than the others. She smiled at him as she saw the look of shock on Robin’s face.

"Don’t worry handsome. You’re not here for that. We have other plans for you." Stepping back she nodded her approval to Cho.

"I agree Cho, he is in fine shape. In fact he is in excellent shape. No visible scars on his person, he seems to be in excellent health."

"I saw him fight Master! I want this one!" Cho blurted out.

"So Cho he can fight?" Her face lit up at the prospect of a new fighter. Cho vigorously nodded his head. "Yes Master, I think he has great potential. I think this might be the one I’ve been waiting for."

The Master walked up to Robin. Taking her long manicured nails she scraped them on Robin’s face.

"So, are you the greatest Warrior that Cho has been looking for?" she purred.

Robin remained silent. The Master looked deep into his brown eyes.

"There is something there. I can see it." Her face came closer to Robins. She saw a large gulp slowly work its way down his throat. She enjoyed making others feeling uneasy. Smiling, she quickly turned ordering Cho.

"Before I make any decisions about him. I want to see him fight first. Pit him against Ox."

"NO Master, not Ox!" Cho gasped his face fell in shock.

The Master whispered softly, so only Robin could hear what she said.

"You are a pretty one. But beauty means nothing here. You’ll find out soon enough." Turning on her heels she made her way towards the monastery.

"Against Ox NOW!" she yelled.

Ian followed on her heels. Cho hung his head in disappointment. His new prospect was to be pitted up against Ox, without being properly trained. He hated to loose this man from the start. Taking Robin by the manacles, he dragged him after the Master. Robin at first dug in his heels, he jerked as he was prodded by Alan in the back with his own sword.

"Off you go now. The master orders it!" He spoke to Robin as if he were a child.

Robin took a last glimpse of daylight, before he was forced into the monastery. He was dragged through dark hallways. Everywhere he looked, he saw young men being trained in one form or another how to fight. Each one showed fear when the Master walked by them. She led them to the center of the monastery. As they walked on Cho tried to prepare Robin for the coming battle.

"You listen and listen good," he hissed. "You're going to meet another fighter named Ox. He’s the best one that the Master has…so far. But I know you are better. When you meet this man, the two of you will fight. For if you do not, then you will die. That is the way here. You fight here or you die. "

Bringing Robin closer to him he whispered to him.

"Ox is strong but he lacks a brain. That is Curtis' job. You have to act quickly. If you don’t, then you will never live to see the light of day. Do you understand me? You must act first!" He tried to stress this to Robin. He didn’t want to lose this man before he even had a chance to train him.

Robin just quietly nodded his head. As they walked on, he realized that he had to play their game while he was here. There was no escape for him now. He knew he had to bide his time. Wait for a chance. But when it came he would jump at it. For now, he had to figure a way on defeating 'Ox' quickly.

Robin could see a bright light at the end of the corridor. Walking through an ornate arch, he was dragged into a large open circular courtyard. Sunlight streamed into the courtyard. Everywhere Robin saw men pitted against each other, in mock and real battles. Quickly glancing around, Robin could now see what the young men, that were taken as prisoners, were being used for.

Each larger fighter used the young men to train with, for their mock battles. As a man was either killed or mortally wounded, they would be dragged away; to be replaced with other innocent men. Robin was reminded of the roman gladiators he was told of in his childhood. These people were resurrecting the bloody spectator sport using local villagers. Robin’s anger grew at the thought of how many young men lost their lives here. He now knew before he escaped, he had to do something to stop it.

End of Part 3

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