They can’t have just disappeared!

Outskirts of Sherwood Forest

 

Hiding at the fringe of the forest, Robin told his band what to do as they watched the castle. “Allan you go to Nettlestone Village, Will can you take Locksley Manor? Little John you’d better go to Clun Village, and Much you can have Bonchurch. Djaq if you come with me, you’ll be able to help Edward, if he needs it, when we free him and Marian. Is that clear?”
“Yes. Clear as the water in the moat.”
“Once you have dropped the families at their villages, leave immediately and we’ll reassemble outside Knighton Hall.”

Robin glanced around at the outlaws, then nodded at Will and Allan. “You two go first, then Much and Little John.”
“Meet you at Knighton,” Will and Allan called out as they hurried out of the forest.
Very soon Much spotted Will and Allan clambering out of the moat with a crowd of peasants. Little John stood up and pulled Much to his feet. “Come on.”
As they returned and passed the final pair heading towards the moat, Much could be heard telling the peasants he had rescued that one day they would have a new master and that they would have to call him Lord Much.

 

Djaq looked up at the guards, who paced up and down the battlements. “Thank goodness the Sheriff isn’t sending them to guard the moat until tomorrow. It is a good thing they haven’t looked down and noticed the peasants disappearing!”
“Right from under their noses.” Robin laughed when he thought about what the Sheriff would say to the guards.
Djaq and Robin clambered down into the moat, where the remaining peasants were waiting.
“The man that was just here, I think his name was Munch…”
“No, it was Chew remember,” another peasant interrupted.
The first continued “Munch, Chew or Eat, he said to wait for Robin Hood. Sorry, I never was good at remembering names.”
Robin laughed at Much’s new name. It suited him very well. “My name is Robin Hood and here is one of my friends, Djaq. Do you know the Sheriff’s plot?”
“Yes, we have heard.”
“That is why we are going to take you to Knighton Hall. You can live there in peace. Just follow us and you’ll be fine,” Djaq instructed.

The trip to Knighton Hall was uneventful; everything went according to plan.

Back at the castle the Sheriff was in a rage. Robin Hood had freed the Sheriff’s few prisoners, he had escaped unharmed and now he would undoubtedly be thinking of freeing Marian and Sir Edward. That would not do.

 

“Get me my horse and be quick,” the Sheriff yelled at a guard.
“Yes M’lord. You may not know, but I am just filling in for my brother, who is deaf; I’m not the deaf one.”

Having made his point, the guard brought the Sheriff’s horse to him, and dismounted. The Sheriff stood on the guard’s shoulders to enable him to mount his horse.
“Giddy up,” the Sheriff ordered and they clattered over the flagstones, out of the castle and over the moat. Glancing at the moat caused the Sheriff to think about the ill-fated soon-to-drown peasants, until he noticed there were no peasants. Quickly he looked around – no peasants. He yelled at the gate keeper to look for the peasants, before galloping off to Knighton Hall. Robin Hood would not get to rescue the captives, even if it meant that he, the Sheriff, had to keep watch himself every minute until Edward and Marian were released.

 

*****

Knighton Hall 

 

“Marian, Edward,” Djaq called out.
Marian looked around at the sound of a familiar voice.
“Who is it?” Edward asked.
“It is Robin Hood and this is a rescue.”
“Robin, how will we get these shackles off?” Djaq asked.
Robin thought for a moment, and pulling Marian’s hair pin out of his pocket, he grinned and said, “This should do the trick.”

Edward and Marian were freed from the stocks and were stretching their aching muscles when Djaq heard a whistle.
“That’s the signal. The others are ready,” Djaq explained to Edward and Marian.
“Thanks Robin and Djaq. I’m wishing I hadn’t mentioned the stocks to the Sheriff when we were discussing forms of punishment!” Edward said, rubbing his back.

 

Just as Robin Hood and the band disappeared into the forest, the Sheriff galloped up to the stocks, discovered them empty and moaned in frustration. “They can’t have just disappeared! I had them locked securely.”

The Sheriff contemplated what he would do if he ever caught Marian or her father again. Without question, they would die.

Exasperated at yet another failure, he turned his thoughts back to the castle.

The moat remained empty, but that was about to change. He’d get Gisborne to fill it with a bucket from the well. Cheered up by this prospect, the Sheriff rode back to the castle.

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