Robin’s eyes flew open as he heard Marion cry out in alarm.
Trying to focus ahead, he once again saw his vision of Marion. Her face had a look of shock to it. She ran to him. Her hand tried to caress him, but she found it moved through him. Frightened, she wondered what had happened to her. Was she dead? She felt a pain before. Then found herself here…but just where was here? Marion looked about to try to find out just where she was. She seemed to be in a large room. There was a small ugly man yelling at Robin. She cried out in horror, as she could see Robin was manacled to chains that hung from the ceiling. The ugly man didn’t seem to see her, but Robin did. See could tell by the look on his face.
"Oh Robin!" She sobbed. "We’ve been looking for you for so long! We thought you were dead!" She stood in front of Robin, looking up into his face. The ugly man walked right through her, but she failed to notice. She stared at her Robin. He was in a horrible agony. His face was twisted in pain.
Robin shook his head to try to clear it. Marion was here with him. She was talking to him, but the pain was also still there. Ever present. He focused on Marion’s vision. She winced as she could see the anguish that he was in. His body contorted as he tried to fight the pain brought on by the pick. Marion stayed rooted in front of Robin. She was trying to encourage him, soothing him; talking to him. Trying to aid him in overcoming the torture that this ugly man was putting him through. It was all she could do for him now. She couldn’t touch him, couldn’t comfort him. She longed to hold him in her arms. To stroke his face, let him know that she was there for him.
Marion didn’t know how she came here, and she didn’t want to know. She only knew that she was now with her Robin. He was going through more than any man should have. She thanked god that she was here to try to help him survive it. Robin’s eyelids slowly drooped. His face grew pale, a deadly weakness began to take him over.
It frightened her more than Robin’s muffled screams. She knew he was dying now. She had to find a way for him to fight it.
"Robin don’t give in!" she called out to him.
Robin could hear her over Cho’s raving. She had become everything to him now, his world, his life. He focused on her, listened to her insistent voice, drawing strength from it. As he listened to her, as he focused his full attention on her the pain suddenly stopped. It was still there, but it wasn’t intensifying. Marion let out a sigh of relief. He did seem to be in less pain now. She didn’t give up on him. She pleaded with him to hold on. That his friends were looking for him, that they would find him and take him back to Sherwood.
Robin struggled to believe what Marion told him. He just felt so hopeless chained in this prison. The torture that Cho put him through for so long. He began to give up hope. As his strength inside waned, the pain grew steadily worse. It was then that Marion realized that Robin was not going to make it. She had to do something now, or her Robin would surely die here in the prison. Marion decided to profess her love to him.
"Robin please don’t die," she cried out. The anguish for Robin evident in her voice, "I can’t live without you. Please don’t leave me. I love you Robin Hood. I have always loved you. From the first day I saw that skinny little boy at Gisbourne's castle, I fell in love. I can't go on without you Robin, you are my life. I love you with all my heart, all of my soul!"
With those words spoken to him, it gave Robin the strength he needed. It enabled him to find a way to fight off the highest level of pain. His muscles began to loosen. His eyes slowly cleared up. He stopped fighting against the chains. Robin calmed down so fast, that Cho was startled by it. He was stunned. Robin seemed as if he were in a trance. He stared ahead of him. The pain was now locked up inside of him. With Marion there, she was able to help him find a way to block it out of his mind. Her love professed to him was what he needed. Finding a way to cope, so he could return to her. He needed to survive for her.
Cho patiently waited. He quietly stood in front of Robin. One hour passed...then two. Robin’s condition did not change. It was when they reached the third hour that Cho decided it was enough. Robin was able to endure the final level. He was now at a point that very few men in even Cho’s country had reached. He saw Robin now in a different light. His face slowly set in a look of joy. He was right. This was the Greatest Warrior, and in two more weeks, he would show everyone that he was truly the best trainer. The Master would be very pleased.
Marion could only watch as the Mongolian moved behind Robin, to pull the pick out of his back. Robin became alarmed, knowing that once the pick was removed Marion would leave. To return to where she came from. The bond that brought her here would be broken. Robin tried to concentrate. Tried to tell her what she had to do to find him. As the pick was removed, as the relief flooded through his body; Robin reached out to Marion. He told her what she needed to do to find him. As her vision slowly faded, as the pain became only a memory to him. Robin only hoped that he had reached her in time. His body fell limp in the manacles.
With Marion no longer there, the strength she gave him to fight off the pain was gone. Robin felt as if every muscle had left his body. He hung like a puppet with its strings cut.
Cho was now humming a new tune. He squatted down at Robin’s feet, unlocking the shackles. Robin’s ankles were bruised, from the many days he was kept there. After unlocking the ankle manacles, Cho stood up and started untying the rawhide strip, taking the mouthpiece out. Robin gasped in relief as it was removed.
"No more pain?" Robin croaked out. His voice horse from the screaming.
"No more my warrior," Cho proudly stated. Robin’s eyes slowly closed, fatigue overtook his body. His tortured mind, relaxing, as he knew it was finally over. He hung loose in the chains. Cho smiled at his protege, as he started to unlock the manacles on Robin’s wrists; he praised his warrior.
"You did good. You did very good my warrior. There has never been anyone in your country that went as far as you did." As he unlocked the last manacle Robin fell into Cho’s arms. "Very few in my own country survived what you have lived through my warrior." Cho carried Robin’s limp form to his bed. He gently laid Robin down.
"Sleep," he whispered to Robin. Robin was at last feeling the comfort of a bed. It seemed so long ago to him, an eternity. His eyes slowly closing as he went into a deep and healing sleep. Cho covered Robin with a blanket. He stood by his side, staring down at him.
"Yes you did real good," Cho whispered. "Better than I had hoped. Better than even those from my own country. Sleep my warrior. There are big things I have planned for you in the future…sleep."
Cho’s thoughts raced now. Planning in his head what he was going to do next. First, he had to inform the Master that Robin would be ready to start fighting in the next couple of days. From now on, he would be busy from sunrise to sunset. He reached down and patted one of his dogs that sat by him. A content smile came to his face. He was finding it difficult to get rid of it, but then he didn’t want to. He had his warrior now. This man was going to take him places that he had only dreamed of.
For now, his warrior had to rest, had to build up his strength. Caligula wagged his tail as he could feel how pleased his master felt. Cho had never been happier in his whole life. He thanked the gods that this man was brought to him. He began to leave the room. He needed to fetch some food for Robin to eat when he woke up. As he turned around, he spied the scarf that he had hung on the wall. He wondered to himself what type of woman was special to this man. She had to be special herself. Cho tried to imagine her, what she would be like as he left the room.
Closing the door, he ordered the dogs to keep a watch over Robin. As the doors slammed shut, the dogs laid by Robin’s bedside. The only sound in the room was Robin’s heavy breathing. A look of relief on his sleeping face. At last! It was over. He would not feel the pain any longer. Robin would sleep for at least a full day. Cho gave him that much. He knew that he had more than earned it. Cho also knew there was still much more for them to do - much more.
*** *** ***
Little John refused to leave Marion’s side all the time she was unconscious. Tuck was worriedly pacing back and forth. She was in what looked like a coma for the past few hours. Sometimes she would cry out Robin’s name. Other times she seemed to be in great pain, but she never woke up. Kemal stayed by Marion’s side also. As she slept, he was reminded of his Princess. She was lost to him. He had hoped that he didn’t lose two more friends. Robin he knew was gone, but there was hope for Marion.
Little John held on to Marion’s hand. It looked so small and fragile in his. He didn’t want to give up on her. As he gently massaged her hand. He felt her jerk.
"Tuck!" He cried out, as her eyes popped open.
She quickly sat up. Regretting it, she clutched her head. She had a tremendous headache.
"Sit still Marion. You’ve been out for some time!’ Tuck ordered her.
Marion shook her head to try to clear it. She then yelled out in joy. "He’s alive!"
The three companions were shocked by her actions. Tuck thought she might be incoherent. From whatever sickness befell her. Seeing the concerned looks in their faces Marion tried to explain.
"Tuck, John, Kemal I saw him! I was there!"
"You were where?" Little John asked, confused.
"I was with Robin," she tried to stand. Kemal and Little John helped her up. Thanking them, she quickly rushed to her mount.
"Wait a minute Marion, where are you going?" Little John called out.
"To find Robin," she laughed with delight. 'He was alive!' She cried out inside.
"How will we find him?" Kemal asked. He was concerned for Marion. She was unconscious for a long time. Maybe she was delirious? Her face beaming with the knowledge that he was alive. She looked back at the three confused faces, surprised them when she winked at them
"Robin told me that’s how." The place Robin was in was still etched in her mind.
"He did?" Tuck said in a condoning voice.
Marion sighed in frustration, when she saw Tucks skeptical face. "I know you all probably think I’m crazy but I did see him. I was with him all this time." Their looks grew more puzzled. Now she was getting impatient. She knew she had to hurry. There wasn’t enough time.
"Look, I’ll explain it to you later, for now we have to find something."
"What’s that?" Little John asked. He slowly walked to Marion and helped her saddle her horse. Marion smiled at John.
"Robin told me, before I left. He said to look for his horse. When he is found we will find a man who will be able to show us where he is."
Tuck gave her a doubting look. Even Kemal seemed to question Marion. Marion looked to Little John for support. He gazed down at her. He loved Robin about as much as Marion did. He would follow both of them to the ends of the earth.
"Well, what are we waiting for?" Little John told Marion.
She hugged Little John. He warmly returned her hug. The both of them mounted their horses. Tuck and Kemal looking to each other, sighing they shrugged their shoulders; knowing that once Marion made her mind up, there was no talking her out of it. They slowly mounted. Marion’s face was glowing. She knew he was alive. Now it was only a matter of time.
"Well let’s go then," she cried out, trying to hold back her enthusiasm.
"What’s the hurry?" Tuck asked.
"Robin told me we have only two weeks time to find him. I don’t know why. But we have to find him by then."
"Well then what are we waiting for?" Little John said. He kicked his horse to a full gallop. Marion followed him, Kemal and Tuck reluctantly trailed them. They really didn’t know where they were going, only that Robin was alive, or so Marion believed. That was enough to give them the incentive to keep up the search.
End of Part Seven
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