This is a work of fiction and is not to be sold in any way shape or form. It is simply for my amusement and the challenge of writing these characters in a strange and dangerous world. All the characters are owned by Disney and I do not claim ownership of any of them. Please let me know what you think in the comments below! Without further ado, welcome to The Kingdom.
It had not been long after sending their newest recruit, Ariel, off to The Kingdom that the Merry Men had realized something deeply troubling. Though they’d said their farewells, they continued to ride through the forest along the cliff edge facing over The Kingdom. This was how they witnessed a dark cloud wash over the city, a dragon fight ensue above its structures and, finally, a fiery arrow shot high into the sky over the harbor.
“Ariel,” said Robin in a whisper. The shafts of sunlight coming through the trees above them illuminated his dark orange fur which covered his nose and pointed ears. He had kind eyes and a charming smile, which now, was turned to a frown. Atop his head was an angular mustard colored hat, from which stuck a tall red feather. A belt fastened at his waist around a green tunic. On his feet were a pair of green leather shoes and across his back hung a bow and quiver.
“What do we do?” asked Marian, his love, who stood beside him, ever the pillar of support. If not for her, he imagined he wouldn’t have been half the fox that he was, and perhaps he would have given up on his ludicrous exploits of robbing the rich to give to the poor, long ago. She too was a fox, and a fair one at that. But she had ditched her veil long ago, and now wore a simple lavender colored dress with pink accents on the arms and a lovely necklace which was fastened tightly around her neck. Within it was a blue gem which sparkled in the sunlight the same way her eyes did. Robin found her to be intoxicating simply to look at.
“We have to help her,” said Robin. “I have to help her.” He looked at his men with a frown. “Whatever is going on down there, it’s bigger than all of us. You will stay here while I investigate.”
None of the men chimed in on this. Little John, a tall brown bear, was staring down at the chaos in the city with a horrified look on his face. None of them had witnessed a moment of this magnitude in their lives, and it was a shock to all of them.
“I’m going with you,” said Marian, defiantly.
“You most certainly are not,” said Robin. “It’s too dangerous.”
“Where you go, I go,” she said. “Besides, I can handle myself. I’m a better fighter than any of these animals.”
“Watch it,” said Little John, not so horrified that he couldn’t also be offended.
Robin sighed. “My love, your safety means more than anything to me. Please, will you stay here?”
“I am not simply some maiden for you to come home to after a battle,” said Marian. “We are a team. I’ll say it again. Where you go, I go.”
Robin contemplated for a long moment. “Very well.”
They quickly grabbed a few provisions and said their farewells to the group. Robin informed them where to meet and when to give up on the two of them returning, if it came to that. They then mounted their horses and took off down the cliff side, following a narrowing winding path along its face, until they reached the valley, covered in a dark mist. It was hard to see too far ahead of them, but before long, they found the towering defensive wall of the city, which to their surprise, was unguarded.
“I don’t like the look of this,” said Robin.
“I don’t recall you ever meeting a wall, guarded or not, that you couldn’t climb,” remarked Marian. “The walls outside my courtyard were quite high and you always managed a way in.” She blushed, not at all denying the double meaning of her words.
Robin chuckled. “I’m a very determined fox.” He dismounted his horse and led both it and Marian’s to a part of the wall where a jagged stone stuck out. He wrapped their reigns around the stone, giving them enough leeway to be able to eat from the grass below them. He then helped Marian dismount and pulled a long rope with a metal hook on the end from the horse’s saddlebag.
He gave the rope a couple of swings and then threw it high into the air. It disappeared into the smog, but soon, they heard a soft ‘clink’ indicating that it had found its mark. Robin gave the rope a few tugs to make sure it was secured to the top of the wall. He then offered it to Marion.
“After you, m’lady,” he said, winking at her.
“Such a gentleman,” she replied. “I suppose you’ll want to be behind me for the scenic view.”
“You really think me that low?” he asked.
“Yes,” said Marion, laughing. “I really do.” She grabbed the rope from him and, using the wall as support for her feet, began to climb up into the dark cloud. Robin followed quickly behind her. Before long, they reached the top of the wall and gazed out over the city. Most of the city was covered in smoke, but across the sea of barely visible roofs, they could see the castle looming over it all. Smoke billowed from several of its spires and it appeared as though it had taken quite the beating.
“Whatever evil befell here, it seems to have reached the castle,” said Robin. “Something very evil came to this city, and I’m willing to bet it’s still here.”
“Nothing’s ever easy, is it?” asked Marian cheekily.
Robin shrugged his shoulders. “Best keep your wits about you.” Together, they made their way down the wall and worked their way stealthily through the city. While the occasional desperate yelp or the cry of a baby broke the silence, Robin found it odd that there were no people to speak of. The streets were empty. Up narrow alleys and long cobblestone paths they went, but still they found no one.
From a distance, there was a soft noise that grew louder as they approached the castle. At first it sounded like a hum and then a roar. Robin quickly realized that it was the collection of hundreds of voices yelling angrily. It was the sound of a mob. They rounded the corner onto one of the main streets and looked towards the castle, where outside its main gates, were all the citizens they had not seen in the city. They were screaming at the gates, demanding for answers, demanding the Queen address them.
How odd, thought Robin. After all, why wouldn’t they be asking for the King himself. He waved Marian forward and they stepped softly to the back of the crowd.
“What do you think happened here?” asked Marian.
“Hard to say,” said Robin. “I imagine we’ll know soon enough.”
There was a loud thump up ahead of them as the large wooden doors of the castle opened outwards. The crowd erupted even louder with messages of rage. A large figure, taller than Robin and much wider, stepped out from the doors and approached the crowd. The figure held up two club-like hands, motioning for the crowd to cease their yelling. Robin could just make out the fat jowls and chin of a fat dog, dressed in all black armor beneath a dark cloak. His face was fixed with a permanent scowl. The crowd began to quiet itself.
“Dear people of the Kingdom,” said the dog. “My name is Pete, and I have come before you to tell you that I am not the enemy.”
“You attacked our people, our homes!” cried a woman from the crowd. The others erupted once more and again, Pete held up his hands to quiet them.
“A mean’s to an end,” said Pete. “We had to take over the city and rid this castle of the heathens within it. None of you are safe. None of you have been safe. Look at how quickly we took this castle.”
Hushed murmurs spread throughout the crowd.
“And the reason you were unsafe? Well isn’t it clear?” he continued. “You are being governed by the very thing you seek to keep out of this city. A villain. A liar. The darkness itself. Queen Minnie would have you believe that your King died only days ago, when in reality, he has been dead for longer than any of you realize. Your Queen is the reason your homes were attacked and now she is the reason Jiminy Cricket is dead. She’s in the city somewhere, planning to kill even more innocent folks like yourself.”
The crowd stirred, trying to comprehend what Pete was saying.
“Do you think this is true?” asked Marian.
“I’m not sure of anything at this moment,” said Robin. “Perhaps Ariel would know what happened.”
“But finding her will be like finding a needle in a haystack,” said Marian.
“Wherever she is,” said Robin, “she’ll be apart from this mob.” He eyed a hooded figure parting from the crowd, heading down a side street. It was slightly shorter than Robin, and had white feathers sticking out from the back of the cloak. It walked on orange webbed feet, giving Robin the impression that it was some sort of duck. “Have to start somewhere. Come on.” He pulled Marian, and dodging below the heads of the crowd so that Pete wouldn’t eye them moving away, they followed the hooded figure.
As they turned down the side street, Robin realized that they had already lost the duck. “Has to be somewhere here,” he said, grabbing Marian by the hand and taking her further down a cobblestone path, passing by houses with closed shudders on their windows. They turned a corner, Robin stopping dead as a long spear was held to his face by a caped alligator, seemingly appearing from nowhere.
“Well now, what ‘ave we ‘ere?” asked the alligator.
“Robin,” said Marian, pulling on his arm. He turned to see that there were suddenly a great many alligators, swarming around them, some with spears, others with swords and even more with long halberds.
“If I didn’ know better, I’d say you lot was some o’ them resistance Pete’s been goin’ on about,” said the alligator, smiling a big toothy smile. “Oh, we’ll be eatin’ fox tonight boys.”
“What do we do, Robin?” asked Marian.
Robin took a deep breath and then grinned his charming smile. “What we always do love.”
In a single movement, Robin slammed his head into that of the alligator, knocking the lizard unconscious, and then grabbed his spear, smashing it down on another lizard’s head. As that one fell, Robin grabbed its sword and tossed it to Marian who began to fight off the alligators around her. Robin ran up a wall and jumped off of, plunging the spear into one of the alligators’ chest. He then swung the spear with the lizard attached, slamming it into three more of its kind.
Marian was at her best with a sword and she handled it with care, parrying and disarming any who would challenge her. But despite their best efforts, the alligators continued to surround them, coming at them in droves. As Robin slapped one of the in the skull with the dull end of the spear, he backed up to Marian who knocked one of the others backwards into two that were behind it.
“This isn’t looking great, love,” said Robin.
“It never does,” she said.
“You know I love you,” said Robin.
“You only tell me that when you’re worried,” she replied.
“Nonsense, I thought it would give you strength.”
“Knowing you’re worried, gives me stress, if anything.”
The alligators edged in on them from all sides. It seemed there was nowhere to go.
“End of the line love,” said Robin. But before she could respond, a burst of black smoke erupted among the alligators as two swords lashed from within it, slicing several of them in half. Just as suddenly as the smoke appeared, it disappeared and reappeared behind them, knocking another group unconscious. And again to their left. They watched as the black smoke appeared out of nowhere, dispatched several alligators and disappeared again, until only one alligator remained.
Robin and Marian stared at him as he shook with fear. “I just want ta live,” said the alligator, but no sooner than he spoke did a figure explode from the smoke in the air above him and landed atop him, clobbering him with the hilt of two swords. The figure landed on the ground between them and the feinting alligator. For the first time, they saw that it was a mouse with large ears and a black suit of armor, with gloves and hooded cape. The mouse looked at them and Robin recognized her face instantly.
“Y-your majesty?” he asked as he stared into the eyes of Queen Minnie.
“I don’t know who you are, or why you’ve come,” said Minnie. “But either way,” she glared at the two of them and then let a small smile slip across her lips. “Welcome to the resistance.”