Chapter 15

Now that Shawn was taken care of, Clementine needed to get to the throne room where the intruders were going to be interrogated. As she walked, she attempted to remain calm and keep her composure, but it was difficult to say the least. After all, Shawn had been placed under her supervision, and now they had three trespassers in the sacred domain. This was practically unheard of in all of their history.

When she opened the large, wooden doors and stepped into the room, she immediately felt the waves of panic floating through the air, and her stomach squirmed. There was a temperate crowd already gathered before the King, who was beyond angry.

"Where are those two?" King Rutherford was asking. Two young Everseers walked forward, heads hung low. "This kind of sloppy workmanship is unacceptable! Two days of solitary confinement—no food or water!"

Clementine watched as the White Watchers took the boys away while their parents silently sobbed in a corner of the room. The poor kids were one of the only Everseers in Avonlee who were powerful enough to erase memories, but they still needed to take their jobs more seriously. Her heart only became more upset when the intruders were escorted into the room and sat down in three wooden chairs before the king.

"Let Shawn go!" Juliet demanded, struggling in her chair.

"What right do you freaks think you have to come and kidnap my son?!" Henry was shouting alongside the detective.

"And what to do with these three?" the king said, stroking his beard.

Back in his room, Shawn was curled up in a corner of his mind. His body was behaving as if it was asleep, with his eyes closed and his breathing steady, but his mind was still awake. The band of metal around his head was pushing him down, forcing him to drown, but he refused to give up. He knew that any moment now the king would give the terrible order to have their memories wiped, so he clung desperately to any sliver of awareness that might allow him to claw his way out.

The thought of Juliet not remembering hurt so much.

The fact that it was his fault that any of this happened stung so deep.

The idea of not knowing Juliet—her face, her smile, her laugh—it was unacceptable.

It hurt worse that a hot coal to the face, but little by little, the band of metal began to slip away. Finally, when he realised that he was running out of time, he gave one last mighty, mental heave and the circlet flew off his scalp. His eyes popped open and he sat bolt upright, trying to shake off a sudden dizzy spell. What a weird feeling that had been.

Shawn leaped out of bed and was sure that he'd be punished for the rest of his life for doing this. He bolted for the door and concentrated. With a flash of light, he passed straight through it, and galloped through the stony hallways, en route to the throne room. He only hoped that he'd make it in time.

"Their minds must be cleansed, and their memories fully erased," King Rutherford said pointedly. "Start with the girl, and lock the other two up until Agatha is ready for them."

Clementine swallowed hard as she watched the White Watchers take their first steps forward. She wished she knew how many times her memory had been erased, but there was no way of knowing for sure.

BANG!

The doors were flung open and they hit their limits fast. In a blur, Clementine whirled around and saw none other than Shawn barging in and putting himself between the King and his friends. The Watchers were stopped in their tracks and everyone was staring, mouths gaping.

"Spare them, King Rutherford, please!" he cried, arms flung wide. Before the king could formulate a response, Shawn continued, "I'd be willing to pay any price for their mental freedom! In fact..." he knelt down and placed his right hand over his heart. "If they're allowed to remember everything—to remember me—and return to Santa Barbara safely, I will serve you unconditionally until the day I die!"

"Shawn, what the heck are you doing?!" Henry yelled, staring in disbelief. Shawn kept his eyes locked on the king.

"To this I bind my soul," he said shakily, and the spot where his hand had touched his heart glowed a brilliant gold colour.

Clementine's eyes weren't the only ones in the room that were bulging. King Rutherford seemed beside himself.

"Bind your soul? What does that mean?" Juliet piped up.

"What kinda wishy washy crap are babbling about Spencer?" Lassiter spat.

When Shawn didn't answer, and the king didn't speak, the room fell deathly silent. All eyes fell on Rutherford, waiting for his response with baited breath. He seemed unreadable and not a single soul could possibly guess as to what he was thinking. Then he laughed.

"One surprise after another today..." he muttered, rubbing his chin. Then after another praise, he added, "Very well. Send them back."

'Just like that?' Clementine thought. The White Watchers moved forward to unbuckle the three Santa Bararbans.

"Shawn, no! You can't stay here!" Henry yelled.

"Shawn!" Juliet cried, being pulled to her feet. She seemed confused and in a state of panic.

Shawn was still kneeling, his eyes glued to the floor. Clementine could tell that he was feeling some pretty overwhelming anguish right now from several different things, and she couldn't understand why he had done what he did.