How’s everyone’s Saturday going?! (Or…you know, whatever day it is that you read this.) Most of you are probably over there wondering if I gave myself a few days to write this new chapter. My answer? YES!! I started working on it last night at 8 o’clock!! I slapped this one together in less than twenty-four hours! I’m quite proud of myself on that! XD (Honestly, guys, DON’T do that to yourself.) Though, now that Into the Lamp is finished, I’m hoping to have more time to work on this! I’ve got a lot of exciting things planned to Robyn’s story! Stay tuned for updates on that.
Also, brief note. I’m HORRIBLE at fight scenes, and this chapter has one in it. So, it’s pretty cringy, beware and proceed with caution. (Also, in your critiquing maybe focus on how to make this fight scene better. I need some help. And, as always, I wanna hear overall thoughts! ESPECIALLY if you loved it!!!!!!! It really helps me to write the next chapter if I know people are wanting to read it!!!!!! Thank you in advance! Y’all are THE BEST!!!!!!!! <33)
Without further ado….the story!
The sound of the trapdoor slamming shut echoed throughout the tunnel. “I think the thief went this way,” a ruff voice shouted. My heart doubled its pace. Our escape route had been discovered.
Little John jerked my arm forward and drew us into a run. For the next few minutes, all I heard was my boots hitting the damp dirt, Little John’s heavy breathing, and the shouts of Calvin’s men headed toward us. I tried to clear my thoughts, but the only thing my mind wanted to do was recall the past. Three years ago, before my world blew to pieces. Who was that girl? She had a carefree grin and an innocent face. Yet no one saw the dash of mischievousness lingering behind those wide green eyes.
The tunnel took a sharp turn. I glanced over to Little John, squinting. His furrowed brows and the intense look on his face showed him calculating the odds of escape. Sometimes he erred on the side of caution, while I choose to jump straight into the midst of danger. As long as I had my faithful bow by my side, that is. We rounded another corner, my breathing growing quicker and my pace slowing. At the end of the short path ahead was a narrow arch. The sun’s beams of light stretched into the round opening.
I wanted to shout, if only to show Calvin I had, once again, outsmarted him, when I heard muffled voices. Not the noises coming from behind, but the sound of men who might’ve been waiting for an order. We came to the opening out of the tunnel. I peeked. Outside there stood a hill that blocked any view of the grounds outside the monastery. I motioned for Little John to follow me as I crawled up the hill and lay flat on my stomach. Above the ridge, a large cluster of men, dressed in the uniforms of the Sheriff of Nottingham’s personal guards, gathered outside the stone building. Woods huddled to one side of the perfectly manicured grounds. I could always disappear inside them. The perfect path to my freedom.
“We’ve got one shot out of here.” I grabbed the bow on my back.
“What’re you planning?” Little John asked.
“I’m not surrendering. So, it looks like we’re fighting our way out of here.” I fumbled about grabbing a string to restring my bow.
I heard another shout from behind. Calvin’s men in the tunnel moved closer. Little John jumped to his feet, drawing out the sword by his side. I glanced behind me. The men guarding the grounds were in a deep conversation, not paying us any attention. My heart pounded, and my hands shook so hard I couldn’t grip the bow to properly string it. The loud thumps of Calvin’s men’s feet drawing closer counted down the seconds I had left.
“Robyn,” Little John warned, as time slowly ran out. Fate reached the end of the tunnel. I grunted, shoved my bow away, and rose, drawing out my sword.
“Follow me!” I shouted to my right-hand man, dashing toward the cluster of men standing above the hill.
Those guards only had time to turn their heads our way before I struck the first man. He fell as soon as the tip of my sword pierced his chest. I ignored the sickening pit in my gut, forming at the knowledge that I killed another man and then engaged the guard next to him. From the corner of my eye, another man raised his sword. I ducked right as the tip of his blade drove forward so it struck my opponent. In his shock, I finished him off.
The clash of swords and the sound of heavy breaths clouded my hearing. The smell of sweat and blood filled the stretch of grounds in front of the monastery. I never wavered, never let my eyes fall off my opponents.
Two more guards rushed forward. I reached for the arrow in the pack on my back. I engaged the first man and threw my arrow in the other man’s direction. I didn’t need to look to know it had found its mark.
Across from me, Little John held his ground, but he didn’t have the bulk of guards targeting him. The pit in my gut widened, but now for an entirely different reason. Calvin targeted only me. Was this more than just an attempt to arrest me?
I kicked away another opponent, spun, and sent an arrow toward a guard who came from the hill I had been at. I noticed Little John moved slower, probably like me. My lungs no longer wanted to hold enough air. I breathed too fast and too hard. Our energy drained more, and Calvin’s guards never ceased to engage us.
I huffed and shouted, “Little John-”
All Calvin’s men needed was one second of me being distracted. I never finished my sentence because a sharp pain filled the back of my head and spread forward, taking over my thoughts. And made the world go black.
My head spun. I opened my eyes to find a dim room. Its walls were a bland color, and it had nothing worth noting except for the firm cot I laid on. I shifted to a seating position, squinting my eyes as if it would stop the pounding pain circling around in my head. Everything felt disoriented, like maybe if I titled my head so far the whole world would collapse. I shook my head, trying to gain back my steadiness, but it only sent more sparks of pain hurtling through it. Harsh, low voices filtered through the thick walls. I whipped around right as a portion of one wall moved open. A secret door. I would’ve admired the brilliance behind it, if the very man I wanted to avoid hadn’t stepped inside with two guards behind him.
My heart stopped. His dark blue eyes watched my every move. I stood, hoping he couldn’t see the slight unsteadiness of my footing or the way I wanted to shrink from his gaze. Calvin Taylor’s face had, at one time, been flawless, but now scars lined its every nook and corner. His dark hair was cut short and framed that scarred face. I had my own scars, but they were hidden. One could search for them, but they’d have to know my darkest secrets, my long-forgotten past. If only I could forget it.
“Someone’s back from the dead,” I muttered.
Calvin didn’t respond. He circled the room, those eyes never leaving his target – me. “You’re in a lot of trouble Robyn.”
“What else is new?”
He walked full circle and now stared me straight in the eye. I wondered what past he hid behind his. A person’s eyes were supposed to be the way you understood what someone hid, but not so with Calvin. And definitely not with me. We knew how to stay in the shadows, how to creep around when no one looked. How to keep scars hidden and let another’s plans be revealed. We knew how to win. And that’s why he was my greatest threat. How did you outmaneuver someone who knew your every move?
“King Henry wants you hanged.”
“So, I’ve heard. Is that your plan? ‘Cause I need to know how long I have to make my escape.”
Calvin laughed. I cringed. He only did that when he thought he had the upper hand. The scariest thing was that he was rarely wrong. “I know your tricks, Robyn. Escape isn’t going to be easy.”
“But it’s not impossible. Even prison cells have a weak point.”
“Not this one.”
I took a second look around the box-like room. The only exit was the hidden door. The dull colors made me feel like death’s grimy fingers were wrapped around this room, ready to finally seize me to the fate I deserved. I suppressed a shudder.
“There is a way to clear your name, though.” Calvin strode over to one side of the room, fingering something in his shirt’s pocket. “I know you have the plans.”
“You’ve heard about the assassination plan? Or are you a part of it?” I raised my brows. This might’ve been the one time I actually wanted to hear his answer.
“Heard. I know why you want to stop it, and I’m sure you can guess why I have the same desire.”
“To be noticed?” I guessed. “Though, if it hasn’t happened by now, then I doubt it ever will.”
He spun around. Those blue eyes blazing with a fire. He knew my weak points, and I knew his. “You know nothing-”
“What do you want me to do?” I didn’t need to hear his backstory. Unless he planned to explain why he wasn’t dead, nothing else was of any use.
“Help me stop it. Then, I’ll clear your name. You can go back to Locksley Town and-”
I shook my head. Going back never made it into the plan. No, all I had to do was go forward. One day, the world would see me do something right. My own desires didn’t differ far from Calvin’s.
“Robyn, you can’t succeed without my help. And I need those plans. Do you really want to spend the rest of your short life as a thief?”
“I prefer famous outlaw, if you don’t mind.”
Calvin huffed. I knew he wanted more than he was letting on. And there was only one way he could know that I had those plans. If the merchant I stole them from was supposed to deliver them to him. Whether he admitted it or not, Calvin was a part of the assassination plan. I walked over to him, shoulders back, head high. I was mere inches from his face. It pained my heart to be this close for reasons I didn’t understand.
Keeping my gaze steady on him, I whispered, “You’ve made one mistake. Never trust a thief.” And then I pulled out the sword by his side.