Ashton and Adelaide’s Prompts; My father used to tell me
My faither used tae tell me tha’ magic was’nae real.
“Help ma boab, Merida! Are ye goin’ on aboot those wisps, again, lass?”
Ah can remember his words clearly, but neither o’ us knew how right ah was.
It took a while; weeks - months even, since King Fergus and Merida had managed to hold a conversation after the curse that she had put onto the Queen. King Fergus had never been one to believe in magic, or the will o’ the wisps, it had always been her mother that filled her head with fairy tales and magic.
When her mother almost became a real bear because of her stubbornness and pride, Merida didn’t know how her father would have reacted. He had believed that his wife was dead, and he had almost lost his daughter too. He was a proud man, he wasn’t all too clever at the right times, but he was strong – he was fast, he was witty, he knew what to do in a crisis, even if it wasn’t always the best thing to do.
A witch lived in the woods outside their castle for goodness knows how long and Merida knew that her father wouldn’t have been pleased. Under his nose, he would say. Mor’du was one thing; magic was another, in her father’s mind.
Merida had come to take all the blame on what happened to Queen Elinor, and placed it onto the only thing she could think would easily be able to take the blame, magic. She wasn’t rational enough to calm down and actually realise the witch that had given her the spell that changed her mum also gave her the means to change her back. But, still, she would become a lot like her father after the bear incident.
She hated magic and witches. Why wouldn’t she? She had almost lost her mother because magic was real, it was available. It was something that she would have to overcome. Her father was most likely still in a state of shock from everything, finding out magic was real – what had actually happened to her mother and her brothers… and then there was her mother and how she must have been feeling. Everything may have been happy, the situation brought the Queen and Princess closer, yes, but there was still more to it than that.
A period of happiness and celebration for the Queen’s life and changing her back happened, yes, there was a small party and the surrounding clans in Scotland had left happy. Merida was told that she could find love and then marries in her own time, but all of that meant little when it came to the fact that magic almost tore their family apart.
There was a part of her that knew that that had been her fault, but her pride wasn’t letting her admit it. Yes, her pride was the thing that caused it all in the first place, but she was working on that – promise.
Merida had come to get closer with her mother, but she had changed everything. She had changed her mother, she had changed her back, she had brought her family closer – but she had changed her own outlook on things. She had taken the magic out of her life. She had lost her childlike innocence. She had changed from that child that was giddily following the wisps through the woods. No, she was certainly gone.
If she never had to deal with magic again it would be too soon.
Mulan glanced over her shoulder as she heard Merida groan. That wasn’t exactly surprising. The first few days of camping had been fine but once they did it for a little longer it seemed to her that Merida didn’t exactly like a few things. It seemed waking up early was one of them. Mulan didn’t exactly like it but she at least sucked it up and did it. But she knew better than to say anything. Even if she and Merida were friends she didn’t want to say something that would dishonor her friend and her superior social status.
Letting out a sigh she had Khan slow down even more. Right then she just wanted to get some alone time to try and release a little of her anger. A few minutes by herself and practicing some of her sword fighting would most likely calm her down. So the sooner they decided on a place to camp the better in her opinion. Mulan rolled her eyes a little but she continued to keep quiet as they made their way down the road. This was going to be a very long ride to London, no matter if Robin took them through detours or not.
His blue eyes looked between the two women. He still didn’t have the faintest clue as to why Mulan seemed upset with Merida but he had a strange feeling it something to do with him. He didn’t need to think about why Mulan didn’t like him though. It was completely apparent that she didn’t. If he could somehow win her over or not Robin also didn’t know. But his mind already raced with thoughts as to how exactly she could treat him. None of that was what he wanted and there was only one thing he could think of to make it a little better.
Stay on Merida’s good side.
Robin looked back at Merida as she commented on his suggestion of riding in the cart. The thief didn’t think it was that bad of an idea. If they were in a rush to get to London then him riding there would be the only way for them to move quickly and everyone be somewhat happy. Otherwise it wouldn’t be the forest that slowed them down. Thinking quickly, there was only one thing that he could come up to try and help him int his situation. And that was his charm.
"I never said I disliked," Robin said defensively. "Well, him exactly. I’m not fond of horses but he seems like one I could possibly get along with, especially if you were the one to train him. A rider as skilled as you surely knows how to train a horse like him and it shows."
The princess looked towards the warrior and then towards the thief. This was going to be a long journey. She knew that this was going to be rather fun though. If Mulan didn’t like Robin, and Robin didn’t like being treated the way that Mulan may talk or act around him, then Merida would have to tread on eggshells to keep them both on side. She needed her bodyguard, but Robin was also needed for taking them where they had to go.
She tilted her head as she heard Robin’s voice stating that he didn’t dislike Angus. She snorted as she rolled her blue eyes. “Oh aye,” She chuckled – she had somehow came to that conclusion with what he had said, however. “Could o’ fooled me,” But when Robin began to use flattery the redhead’s nose scrunched up. A skilled rider like her? Oh, aye, such a skilled rider she actually didn’t like riding horses that weren’t Angus.
“Flattery will get ye nowhere, Hood.” Merida somewhat spat before shaking her head. Soon enough when the princess wasn’t looking at Robin, a smile graced her lips. “But yer righ’,” Sort of. “Ah am a guid rider,” on Angus. “An’ ah dae know how tae train a horse.” She had been taught, she had raised Angus since a foal so how could she not do it again? But still, he wasn’t going to get a night in her cart through complimenting her.
Mulan only caught snippets of what her two other companions were talking about and from what she head she didn’t exactly care. The thief could crawl for all she cared. As long as he showed them the proper way to London and he didn’t try to ride with her on Khan, then he could do whatever he wanted. Well, he could do what he wanted within reason. If he so much as thought of stealing from them then Mulan would see to it that it was the thing he ever thought of doing.
Doing as Merida requested, she slowed Khan down and looked over at the redhead as she waited for Angus to catch up with her. Once he was walking along side Khan she looked back to see where there thief had gone. “Are you planning on having us camp the whole journey? Or will their be an inn or two along the way?” Mulan didn’t care if they had to camp the whole way to London but having an actual bed to sleep on for a night in between would have been nice. It would also give Khan and Angus some needed attention until they reached London where they could be properly stabled.
The thief took a small step back from Angus the second the horse neighed. The fox in him disliked animals that were larger than him and that same dislike stayed with him when he was a human. That part of him kept on reminding him how the horse could easily kick or step on him if he wasn’t cautious. “I’ll most likely ask to sit in the cart if I need to,” Robin replied as he smiled up at Merida to hide the small amount of fear he had experienced. When Merida began to have her horse trot over to Mulan’s, he jogged along side her until she was walking along with the other. There he stayed between the two of them as they walked.
"Oh there should be one or two closer to London. I’m afraid we’re going have to camp most of the time while we’re going to Sherwood." And he would have to find a way to hide his foxy self.
Hearing that they were going to have to camp most of the time whilst going to Sherwood, the princess groaned as she swayed a little backwards on the horse and rolled her eyes. “Naturally,” Yes, she didn’t mind camping – but she knew that when they were in an inn that Mulan usually gave her layaway when it came to sleeping in.
When Robin asked her (sort of) if he could sit in the cart when they were riding the way to Sherwood, she quirked one of her ginger brows way up and chuckled. “Really, ye want tae ride in my cart when ye dinnae like my horse? Think again, Sunshine.” Naturally Merida would when it came down to it – it was obvious from the small smirk on her features that she was joking.
Her attention soon turned to Mulan as she wondered about how things would be between the two of them. She knew that Mulan disliked Robin and well Robin hadn’t said much about the warrior, but the friction was going to be obvious. “Haud up a minute,” She called out to Mulan knowing that she and Khan had travelled down the road a little quicker. Merida couldn’t push Angus too much with the cart.
And Robin was walking.
Mulan nodded her head when Merida told the thief to guide them to where they wanted to go. She doubted she had much of a say in it anyways. She was simply acting as Merida’s guard and she took orders from the princess while they were traveling. It just so happened that she had more knowledge on things like camping than the redhead did. Mulan did like, however, how her opinions did seem to matter in the decision making a little.
When Merida asked Robin if he wanted to ride on either Angus or Khan, Mulan moved back a little on her saddle. She had no desire in the thief joining her. Khan most likely wouldn’t have liked it either. The stallion didn’t enjoy having anyone but her on his back, especially someone that he didn’t even know. To make this point clear, she gently kicked Khan into a slow walk.
"Very well my dear," he said with a wide smirk and another tip of his hat. He was pleased that he was getting his way with this. Now he just needed to get them through Sherwood safely and then everything will be fine. The only other problem he could foresee was their return trip but Robin could possibly come up with a plan for that. He didn’t give his men an exact date for when he would return and therefore there was no rush for him.
Merida’s question on if he was going to ride with her or Mulan made Robin hesitate. The sound of a horse walking made him look over at the foreigner and watched as she slowly walked down the road on her horse. Well, there was her answer. Turning back to Merida, he rubbed his neck sheepishly. “Uh…No offense but I’m not exactly…Fond…Of horses.” He wasn’t afraid of them nor did he out right hate them but he preferred to keep his distance from them. Riding one wasn’t his cup of tea. “I have no trouble with walking and if I need to rest then I’ll let you know.” Robin would probably just ride in the wagon if he needed to.
“That’ll be a no fae ye then…” Merida mumbled under her breath as she watched Mulan began to head down the road on Khan when she had brought up the idea of Robin riding with either of them. She sighed before shaking her head. It would appear that keeping the fact that Robin was a thief from her the night before was a mistake – but she also didn’t keep her in the dark, Merida thought Mulan would have been somewhat happy with that.
The princess quirked one of her ginger brows as she looked towards the thief, he wasn’t very fond of horses? She had no idea what was so wrong with horses but it seemed no matter what lately she had only ever come across people who disliked horses. The Clydesdale she was sat upon neighed in a growl as he moved his head back and Merida calmed him down by running her hand down his neck. “Dinnae worry lad,” She whispered, before tilting her head with a smirk.
“He’s just scared o’ ye.” She laughed, unable to help herself before shrugging her shoulders. “Alright then, ye can get tired an’ hurt yer feet then.” Merida decided as she sat up straight and kicked Angus into a small trot as her blue eyes watched Robin as they walked past him. “Dinnae say ah did’nae worn ye, Hood.” Merida returned with the nickname she had come up with him. She looked forward ahead towards the warrior. “Mulan, wait fer us,” She spoke out, hoping to get her to slow Khan down so that they could walk somewhat next to each other.
Hearing that there were people in need the warrior in her started to awaken. It happened whenever she heard that people were in need of a savior. Unfortunately this time she knew that there was very little she could. Mulan wasn’t in her homeland and therefore she held very little power over what happened. If she was in China then she could have done something since she would have the blessing of the Emperor but here she was just some foreigner that had no say in the lives of the people here.
Instead she focused on the question that Merida had asked Robin. It didn’t go unnoticed by Mulan either when Merida looked at her. Her hands tightened on Khan’s reins, causing him to move a little and grunt once more at the mistreatment his rider was giving him, as she looked down at the thief. Avoiding a town that wasn’t friendly towards outsiders was something she wanted. But if it meant a delay in their journey…
"If it’s the safest way then so be it," Mulan finally answered. "My top priority is making sure you don’t get hurt. If that means we take a few extra days to reach London then I’m willing to make that sacrifice." She did want to see Bart soon but she also wanted to make sure that happened without the cost of Merida getting hurt. She had a job to do and it was the first thing that was on her mind.
Robin looked between the two women, hoping against hope that they would agree to the way he wanted to go. In a sense, it was probably better for them to go through Sherwood than Nottingham. He could already hear the screaming from the two of them when they saw the town filled with animals. If he could avoid that sound then he would.
"Oh just a day or so," he said with a casual shrug. "The forest surrounds the town so there isn’t any exact way to avoid it. But it isn’t that dense either so traveling through it won’t be slowed down that much." Or so he hoped. Robin had never had to take a horse through Sherwood before. Mulan’s horse would possibly be able to go through it fine but he wasn’t certain of Merida’s. The fact that it was pulling a wagon might prove to be difficult. Of course he would make sure to get them on the fast route possible so that wouldn’t be a factor.
The redhead sighed as her blue eyes roamed over Mulan as she finally answered her about what way she wanted to go to get to London. Yes, Merida knew that there was a reason that Mulan wanted to get there – but she hadn’t thought it was for anyone that resided there. All Merida thought was that Mulan would have wanted to get the fastest and safest way for her – and she supposed that was it. That was why Mulan agreed, although she could sense the daggers being thrown at her from her eyes as it was.
“Alrigh’.” Merida replied as she looked towards the blond. “Take us there,” She nodded as she glanced around and kept hold of Angus so that he was still. He was after all carrying all their belongings on the wagon connected to the back of him. “Dae ye need tae ride wi’ one o’ us?” She questioned the thief as she looked around and saw that he didn’t exactly have a horse with him. She could understand why he would walk ahead of him, after all he was their guide but she didn’t think he would want to walk all that way when there were two horses that could carry him.
She bit her lower lip and looked at Mulan again and gulped. “Well, wi’ me…” She corrected herself as she could imagine what either Mulan or Khan would have been like if Robin was to even think of riding with them. There was always the wagon and he could have positioned himself on it, but she had a feeling that that would have been very unhelpful with him telling them where to go.
“Wǒmen huì kàn dào,” Mulan muttered as she had Khan turn in the direction that Robin had said they would be traveling in. If she was going to warm up to Robin then it would take a very long while. She didn’t like thieves as she thought anyone did. So why Merida had “hired” this man, if she did that Mulan didn’t know, was beyond the female warrior. She didn’t have the desire to find out right then either. Possibly later that evening she would pull Merida aside and ask her about the thief.
She stopped Khan a few feet away from Merida and Robin. She didn’t want to leave them behind but she also wanted a small distance between them at that moment. It was just how she eased away her anger. Most of the time when she was anger she could vent it by hitting something or mediating. However right then she couldn’t do either and she had no desire to snap at either of them, well, mostly Merida. Mulan didn’t care if she bit off Robin’s head at all.
When Robin mentioned how Nottingham wasn’t a happy place and that they were best to avoid it, she pulled back on Khan’s reins and made him rear back a little. He snorted at her, telling her that he didn’t appreciate the treatment she had given him, but right then her attention was on the thief. Automatically she wonder if avoiding Nottingham would delay them in getting to London. It was the last thing that Mulan wanted. She had been looking forward to seeing Bart in a timely matter and if she heard that they were going to be delayed then she wasn’t going to be happy. But instead of voice her concern she kept quiet as she waited for the thief to reply to Merida.
Watching Mulan, Robin pursed his lips and just nodded his head. He was going have to make sure he was on his good behavior now. He hadn’t planned on doing anything bad but now he was just going have to make sure that nothing he did was viewed like that. Maybe staying away from the exotic female would also do him some good.
"Oh well…" How was he to explain this? The main reason why he wanted them to stay away from Nottingham was for the fact that there were no humans in the town. He had no idea how humans entering it would go over nor did he wish to find out. But Robin guessed he could tell the half truth of it. "The king’s brother isn’t the nicest of sorts. The town is in disarray because of him. He takes everything that the people have for money. The ones that can get away to try and help their families have, myself being one of them. As far as I know they don’t take kindly to outsiders either." Shrugging he added, "Until King Richard, the rightful king, can return then the town isn’t going to change any time soon. I do know a way around the town through the woods that surrounds it though. That was the path I was going to take you on."
The princess could hear the way that Mulan was speaking to the horse, not really realising she was speaking to her because she still really didn’t know what made the warrior tick. Now and again she felt she might pick up this language, at least to know how Mulan felt – but she was thus far failing at that.
“Ah’m sure ah’ve dealt wi’ worse than the King’s brother.” After all she had been up against a bear and survived to tell the tale. Well, she wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for her mother saving her life – but she would never admit that she felt that way to anyone. “Ah’m royalty though, ah can worm my way around things.” Although she didn’t like the idea of having to bat her eyelids to do that – all she wanted was to get to London the quick way.
She sighed, “The woods?” She shrugged. “Tha’s fine wi’ me, but how many mair days does tha’ add tae oor journey?” Her blue eyes moved from Robin and glanced over at Mulan. “Are ye fine wi’ takin’ a detour in the woods?” Of course this was Mulan and her journey, Robin was merely their guide, so Merida wanted to ensure the Chinese woman was okay with all decisions made and had a say too.