The Timely Adventures of Rachel Evans: Two Merry Men and the Curious Fashions of the French
April 25, 2013
The young man straightened up, grinning at her. "My apologies, I didn’t mean it like that." He whistled over his shoulder. Another man appeared from behind the tree, eying Rachel suspiciously.
The first one, who had a narrow face with nice eyes and a pleasant wide smile, nudged the second one’s shoulder. "Tell her the truth, Alan."
Alan was tall with wavy blond hair and basically looked like he had escaped from an 80s band’s attempt at a Celtic rock music video. Rachel had a habit of taking mental descriptions because part of her always expected to have to describe the situation to the police at a later date.
"Your voice is pleasant enough, but the words," Alan sighed deeply. "They leave much to be desired."
"Oh yeah? How many albums have you sold?"
The minstrel bristled at her tone even if he didn’t understand the meaning. "I’ll have you know that my songs are sung in taverns from London to York."
"Oh well, I’m sure that’s cool." As much as Rachel wanted to keep on arguing, these were the first two people she had met who didn’t seem completely threatening, and she didn’t want to freak them out. First priority: find Leigh and Hunter. Second priority: start the first Ke$ha fan club. Just because it was second didn’t make it any less of a priority.
The first young man was giving her a bold look, which was definitely a thing Rachel had only previously encountered in fiction. "Who’re you?"
"I’m Rachel," said Rachel. "Who are you?"
The young man doffed the cap on his head in a delighted fashion. "I am Will Scarlett." He swept into a low bow.
"Seriously?" Rachel stared at him.
"But of course, and this is Alan a Dale." He nodded at the other young man who murmured, "At your service," in a doubtful sort of voice.
This was actually happening. She was talking to two prominent members of the merry men. Which meant that Robin Hood was real.
"Gimme a minute." Rachel whispered faintly. Sure she had met the ghost of George Bernard Shaw, which hello meant GHOSTS WERE REAL, but even that wasn’t having the same effect on her as this.
If her phone had been working, she would have sent a certain text off immediately. As it was, it was probably safer that it wasn’t working. Rachel wasn’t sure what would happen if she used modern technology in front of outlaws. They’d probably burn her as a witch. That would suck.
Speaking of, Will Scarlett and Alan Dale were just standing there, staring at her.
"What year is it?" Rachel asked politely. Just to get this all straight in her head.
"The year of our lord, 1192, why?" Alan asked suspiciously.
"No reason." Rachel smiled ambiguously at him. "Just testing you there."
The minstrel drew himself up haughtily. "I have no idea why you would have need of such a test, but I find it offensive."
"You would never make it in L.A." Rachel said witheringly.
"What are you doing in Sherwood?" Will interrupted. "You don’t seem," he seemed at a loss as how to describe Rachel.
"I’ve been away," Rachel said vaguely. "In…uh, France." That seemed safe enough.
"Ah," Will nodded to himself. "France."
"That would explain your odd garb." Alan added in a snide tone.
Rachel ignored that. Haters were gonna hate, even 12th century haters. "Unfortunately, I’ve gotten separated from my companions."
"Are they here in Sherwood?" Will looked concerned. "It’ll be getting dark soon."
"One of them is, I think? The other one," Rachel took a deep breath. "The other one is my young brother, and I think he’s been taken to the sheriff."
She didn’t like the look the two outlaws exchanged. "What is it? Tell me, please."
Alan looked grave. "The sheriff’s sentences have been growing more and more severe of late. He can’t catch Robin and he knows it, so he’s taking it out on everyone else he can get his hands on. I’m sorry, my lady, but I fear your brother won’t be treated fairly, no matter what his crime.”
As serious as the situation was, it was hard not cackling at getting called ‘my lady.’ Rachel decided to roll with it. “The sheriff can’t do anything to him. Hunter didn’t do anything.” This was ridiculous. She didn’t time travel just to let Hunter get hung for a stupid crime he didn’t even commit. How would she explain that to her parents? Uh, yeah, sorry, he’s buried in Nottinghamshire. Whoops.
"I have to get him back." Rachel checked her compass in a covert fashion. "Thanks for your help, really. I appreciate it."
"That is most unwise." Alan frowned at her.
"I have to."
"Wait, wait," Will took her arm. "You can’t go rushing off to Nottingham tonight. Come with us and speak with Robin."
"Will," Alan said warningly.
"If we can’t help her get her brother back, what’s the point of any of this?" Will said beseechingly.
"You are more than free to bring that up with Robin if you desire, but that’s up to you." Alan glanced at Rachel again, then sighed. "Come on then, if you’re coming."
"Please come with us." Will squeezed her arm lightly, smiling at her. "You can have some food, and tell us what happened. Robin will think of something, I promise you."
Food sounded good. Not to mention meeting Robin Hood. Rachel wavered. “They won’t do anything to my brother tonight?”
"No," Will told her. "The sheriff always lets his prisoners languish a while in his dungeons before he sentences them."
"Are you sure?"
Will nodded, his face abruptly solemn. "I’ve been there myself. It’s not pleasant, but he’ll be safe for a few days. I give you my word." He held out a grubby hand.
Rachel eyed it. "Your word as an outlaw."
"The very same." Will’s grin widened.
Rachel gave in, shaking his hand. What the hell? If you couldn’t trust an outlaw who had absurd hair and an infectious, youthful grin, then who could you trust?
To be continued...