Robin Hood the One Who Looked Good in Green Read online

  For Chloe Brawer, my little mind reader. You make every story better.

  And with gratitude for editor extraordinaire David Levithan, wearer of many hats, master of them all. Thank you for slipping me a note fifteen years ago and adding so much magic to my life.

  Title Page



  Chapter One: Robin

  Chapter Two: Marian

  Chapter Three: Robin

  Chapter Four: Marian

  Chapter Five: Robin

  Chapter Six: Marian

  Chapter Seven: Robin

  Chapter Eight: Marian

  Chapter Nine: Robin

  Chapter Ten: Marian

  Chapter Eleven: Robin

  Chapter Twelve: Marian

  Chapter Thirteen: Robin

  Chapter Fourteen: Marian

  Chapter Fifteen: Robin

  Chapter Sixteen: Marian

  Chapter Seventeen: Robin

  Chapter Eighteen: Marian

  Chapter Nineteen: Robin

  Chapter Twenty: Marian

  Chapter Twenty-one: Robin

  Chapter Twenty-two: Marian

  About the Author

  Also by Wendy Mass


  If you don’t know much about the legend of Robin Hood and the lovely Maid Marian, you might say, “That’s the one about the guy with the green tights and pointy hat who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, right?”

  And you’d be correct. But this kindhearted thief, this brave and clever master of disguise, did not start out that way. Far from it, in fact. The young, carefree Robin was more likely to be getting in trouble than righting the world’s wrongs or thinking of anyone but himself. At least, not until he met Marian, who never thought of herself at all. But in her defense, she didn’t have much time to think, what with all the shopping.

  Or at least, that’s the story I’m going with. The original English folktales about Robin Hood are short on details about Marian (and don’t have much more to say about Robin himself), so the version you’re about to read is simply my best educated guess as to how it all went down. Plus, I’ve taken the liberty of combining the characters of Will Stutely and Will Scarlet. Because honestly, why are there two people named Will in the same folktale?

  Also, it must be said, much of this takes place on another planet.

  Before you dive in, though, if you’re really attached to the old image of a swashbuckling Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men forced to flee to Sherwood Forest by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and the cruel Prince John, allow me to direct you to Hollywood’s collection of film adaptations. The characters even burst into song in some of them.

  But if you’re willing to go along for the ride with me, then sit back and enjoy this tale of two worlds — the first with glittering skyscrapers, orbiting spaceports, and food that wobbles when you try to eat it. The other is home to medieval outlaws, fearsome beasts who lick your feet, thick mossy woods, and dancing monks who can teach you the secret to everlasting life. For a price, of course.

  And don’t forget the spaceships. Only here they’re called airships … and the next one is about to leave.

  Try not to miss it.

  Spaceport Delta Z, AD 2336

  Swoosh! I lift my foot off the ground and my hoverboard glides exactly three inches above the rusty steel beams of Spaceport Delta Z. I’m not supposed to ride it outside of the Central Plaza, but I’m late for school and I never crash. Plus, I’m the kinda guy who believes you should ask for forgiveness instead of permission.

  Ah, who am I kidding? I don’t usually ask for forgiveness, either. But that’s partly because my teacher is a robot, and I think it’s bizarre to ask for forgiveness from a robot. And it’s not like this is the kind of robot that looks like a person. We’re talking square viewscreen for a head, one wheel for legs, and a body composed of leftover parts from a washing machine. We used to have real teachers up here, but none of them lasted more than a few months before they bought a one-way ticket on the next airship off this place. I don’t blame them, really. Life on an old, remote spaceport like ours is not for the faint of heart.

  I’ve heard many spaceports have bowling alleys and grassy fields, fancy restaurants serving fresh food, ice rinks, artificial gravity generators, luxury living quarters, and shops where you can buy every new gizmo and gadget in the galaxy. They even boast man-made lakes where you can take out a rowboat and toast the good life with a multicolored drink as you watch the airships lift off toward galaxies far, far away.

  Spaceport Delta Z doesn’t have any of that. Well, we have a gravity generator, but since it’s my absentminded uncle’s job to keep it running, we’re guaranteed to be bouncing on the ceiling at least once a month. Otherwise, we’re pretty bare-bones here. No cool shops, no luxury anything, and I’ve only tasted real food fourteen times in my life — once a year on my birthday.

  Not that I’m complaining — not much, anyway. Our bodies can’t even process real food more often than that. This is proven by the fact that after a birthday, no one wants to stand near you for a full two days until the food — always beans, onions, and corn — is out of your system and the air around you is safe to breathe again without retching.

  Also, we have excellent music playing at all times in the plaza. There’s no crime or vandalism, and very little fighting. Everyone’s living space is exactly the same, and we’re all given the same basic supplies and clothing, so there’s no envy or greed. (Well, there may be some envy over my devilishly handsome face, but I can’t help that!)

  We do have one special activity — an arcade of video games that the station commander has built up over the years. Each kid is given an allotment of tokens each week that usually run out by the second day. My favorite game is a virtual reality game called BullsEye, where you shoot a virtual arrow at the screen and try to hit the center of these constantly moving circles. The only person who can come close to beating my high score is my cousin, Will, and he’s thousands of points behind me.

  Out of the forty-three full-time residents of Delta Z (although that number changes monthly as workers rotate in and out), Will is my only real friend (and he pretty much has to hang out with me due to us being related), but that’s okay. As Uncle Kent says, I’m an “acquired taste.” Not everyone gets me.

  All things considered, this is a pretty good life. Better than being stuck on Earth, the only habitable planet in this solar system. Even though we’re half a light-year away in the Oort Cloud, just thinking about that place makes me shudder.


  I expertly jump up and land backward on my board without missing a beat. The board slows and hums as it hovers outside Shane’s Service Station and Garage. I reach out with one hand just as Shane — Delta Z’s head mechanic — launches a round object at my head. I catch it right before it smacks me in the forehead.

  “Nice,” he says, and saunters back into his shop. Shane’s a man of few words, but besides Will and Uncle Kent, he’s the only other person I hang out with on a regular basis, and one of the only other “lifers” who never leaves this place. I open my palm to find a brand-new roll of clear tape. He must have won it in a poker game with a visiting pilot. That’s how he gets most things.

  “Yes!” I shout. “Thanks, Shane!” He gives me a wave as he disappears under a short-range shuttlecraft that he’s been working on for two weeks. It’s been decommissioned due to it tending to fall apart in outer space, but if anyone can get it up and running again, it’s Shane. Just so long as no one tries to rush him. Then he’ll toss his tools aside and play a few hands of the card game that runs all hours in the