I’m FINALLY getting back to Robyn Hood’s story!!!!!! *dances* THANK YOU to all of you who always read these chapters and tell me your thoughts in the comments!!!! It means a LOT!!!! *gives you all chocolate* Anyway, I know we’ve all been waiting for the next chapter so let’s go ahead and dive on in. 😉
We had walked for miles. My feet were blistered and sore. Two days of travel had passed, and I felt no less ready to face what was around the next bend in my journey. The scariest thing was that I couldn’t foresee what lay beyond the boundaries of Sherwood Forest. With Calvin Taylor in pursuit, a map no one I knew could read, and me and Little John who were sadly the worst excuse for a hero, this mission was hopeless. I should’ve never left Sherwood. Did I really think there was any chance of stopping people who were nothing more than a name to me? The faces could be any weary traveler passing us.
My heart pounded. This time I had no clue who I was up against. Beside me, Little John wiped his brow and warily glanced as a peasant strolled by us, whistling. We both thought the same thing: outside of Sherwood, we had no friends. Everyone was a potential threat.
“How close to the border do you think we are?” I asked my right hand man.
He watched the sun and closed his eyes. “Probably a few more days’ travel.”
I kicked the ground. This was moving too slow! “We need horses.”
“Not to mention water and food.”
Did Little John have to voice another worry? My stomach growled at the reminder that it had been empty for the past day. Why was it such a whiner?
We continued our journey in silence. We lacked the energy to talk, and it was better to stay quiet. I needed to think and formulate a plan of what to do once we reached this other kingdom. I knew next to nothing about the people and what was the best way to convince one to read the map for us. Did they value gold or food? I sighed.
Eventually as evening pressed closer, Little John suggested we should break and find a stream for water. I agreed and we steered our path into the surrounding woods. I took in a deep breath, the smells of woodland life flooding my nostrils. But this place didn’t remind me of home.
Little John cupped a hand around his ear. I strained to listen and heard the soft flowing of water from a stream. Little John’s face lit up, and I couldn’t help but share in his joy. We dashed forward like we were in a merry race. I laughed as low tree branches slapped me. Little John made it to the river first but I wasn’t far behind. I knelt at the edge gulping as much water as I could hold.
It refreshed my parched throat. I could’ve stayed here for hours, enjoying the cool shade from the trees and the peacefulness of the forest. I closed my eyes.
But then I heard the crushing of leaves and knew I had been discovered. I flew my eyes open and jumped to my feet. My hand already reached for my bow. Little John rushed to his feet and drew his sword free of its scabbard. My pulse quickened, and my fingers itched to string my bow and grab an arrow.
The sound grew closer and louder. It sounded like there were at least two men coming our way, maybe more. If it was Calvin’s men then it was safe to assume there were definitely more. I strung up my bow. I wasn’t letting Calvin get me again. I might’ve not been a hero, but I was still the boldest outlaw England had ever seen.
As the men reached the clearing, I drew back the arrow in my bow. Its point landed in the direction of the first man. I breathed a sigh of relief as I saw who the two men were.
“Scarlet,” I laughed, “what’re you doing here?” My nephew’s eyes were wide and wild causing my heart to skip a beat. Will Stutely stood beside Scarlet, his face looked pale.
Little John tensed behind me. Something was wrong. Part of me didn’t want to know what now would hinder my mission. Couldn’t the world leave me alone for at least a couple of days? I was weary from my long walk and meeting with Calvin. I desired to rest in the shade of Sherwood Forest. Why did I take this task of stopping the assisnation plan upon me? Why hadn’t I listened to Little John?
This wasn’t about the king or England. I wasn’t doing this for the poor or my men. For the first time, I did this for me. The tales the rich men of this land told around their table was of a ruthless, cunning thief. They didn’t see a girl who had her own desires and thoughts. They knew nothing of me truly, and it was time they all saw who I was. It was time they told of Robyn Hood who had saved merry England.
“We rushed to find you as soon as we’d heard the news,” Stutely explained. “We’d asked if anyone had seen….”
“What’s the news?” I quickly asked. I wasn’t in the mood to learn how they found us because then I’d have to face the face that if my men found me then Calvin Taylor could too.
Scarlet stepped forward. “The Sheriff of Nottingham….”
“The old one,” Stutely rushed to add.
I raised an eyebrow, hoping they’d hurry and get to the point.
“He’s made an agreement with Guy of Gisborne.”
It felt like my body went numb and cold. Anything that involved Guy of Gisborne couldn’t be good. What did my former rival want with him?
“What agreement?” Little John asked.
Scarlet wouldn’t look me in the eye. “An agreement that if he accomplishes his part, he is to be redeemed from his law breaking deeds and also be given a hundred score of gold.”
“What is it, Scarlet?” I could hear the aggravation in Little John’s voice but truth was, I knew I didn’t want the news. It was easier pretending all was well.
“To kill Robyn Hood.”
Fear wanted to choke me, but I didn’t let my men see it. Guy of Gisborne was ruthless and deadly. I didn’t have the skill or strength to overtake him if we got in a fight, and I was certain he would be able to see through any of my clever moves. I couldn’t run or hide from this, but at the same time, if I faced it, Guy of Gisborne would accomplish his task. I’d be dead before I had the chance to lift my bow.
My heart pounded so hard I couldn’t hear the rest of the conversation. I walked a few paces away, trying to remember how to breathe. My hands shook but I stilled them. I was so lost on what to do. How much time did I have until Guy of Gisborne found me? Or Calvin’s men? Which was worse? My bow was still in my hand but somehow I had lost the arrow. I had probably dropped it when Scarlet told me his news. I grabbed another arrow from the quiver and drew back. It struck a tree, but that wasn’t enough. I let another arrow fly and another.
Maybe that was my way to reassure me I had something Guy of Gisborne did, or maybe it calmed me in a strange way. Maybe it just felt good to do something instead of sit around, awaiting my death. I drew another arrow back and released it.
Little John was beside me then. I wanted to crumble, but I couldn’t let anyone see it. How did my men see a leader in me? I slumped to the ground. Little John didn’t say anything for a while. Scarlet and Stutely were somewhere behind, waiting for their next orders.
“We have to keep going, Robyn.”
“I know,” I said. “How much time until I’m found?”
Little John shrugged. “Probably not long enough. But when the time comes, I will fight this outlaw myself with my own two hands if I have to.”
“I can fight my own battles,” I remarked.
“But I will not let anyone kill you. They must get through me first.”
The thought of losing Little John hurt me more than I let him believe. Something was wrong with that. My emotions were too confusing around him. And in that moment, I feared them more. They had more power to destroy me than anything else.