Keeping low to the ground, Burton Guster crept around the house. He glanced over his shoulder. "I really think you should be going first, Shawn," he whispered. "You're the one who wanted to be Robin Hood, Leader of the Merry Men, so lead!"
"No way!" Shawn hissed back. "If I get caught leading you to steal something from my dad, I'm dead!"
"And if I get caught leading this mission?"
Reassuringly, Shawn reached up and patted his friends shoulder. "My dad wouldn't kill a kid that isn't his, Gus," he said. "We'll be fine. It's mine anyway."
"What are you two up to now?"
Jumping, the two boys spun around. Shawn's dad, Henry, stood with his arms crossed. "Hi, Dad," Shawn said, going immediately into his innocent look. "What can we do for you? I thought you were going to go fishing with your friends."
"I was, until I saw you and Gus sneaking around," Henry answered, staring at the two. "So, what are you doing?"Noncommittally, Shawn shrugged. Henry turned his gaze to Gus. For several moments, the boy squirmed. Finally, he burst out, "We're playing Robin Hood. We have to storm the castle to get back the tax money for the poor."
"I see," Henry said, nodding. "And what exactly is serving as the tax money?"
The boys exchanged guilty looks. Shawn muttered something unintelligible. "What was that, Shawn?" Henry demanded. Shawn scuffed his feet and looked down at the ground. Again, Henry focused on his son's friend. "Gus? Perhaps you would care to translate what Shawn said?"
Swiftly, Shawn looked at his friend, eyes widening with horror as his friend caved. "We were going to get Shawn's jar of coins," Gus explained.
"That's what I thought," Henry said. "Okay, Gus, you can go home now. I need to have a talk with my son."
Without hesitation, Gus took off. "Dad, it's my savings!" Shawn protested, after sending a glare at his friend's retreating back.
"No, Shawn, it belongs to me," Henry responded. "Remember? That jar of change is paying for the window you broke when you persuaded Gus you wanted to see if you could understand how a thief gets in houses. Your attempt at a savings didn't cover the pane of glass."
"But you're the one who told me I had to get inside the mind of my opponents!" Shawn argued. "That's what I was doing. So technically you're punishing me for doing something you wanted me to do. How unfair is that?"
"The money is mine, Shawn. End of discussion," Henry told him sharply. Shawn scowled. "Why were you and Gus playing at being Robin Hood?"
Shawn shrugged. "Why not? He was a cool guy."
"No," Henry corrected. "He's a man who rebelled against authority and took matters into his own hands. That's not someone I want to see you imitate, Shawn. So don't let me ever catch you playing this game again. Got it."
Sullenly, Shawn nodded. His father walked away. "I think I just found my new hero," the boy said with a grin. "I gotta find Gus and tell him!"
"You really should have come to the new coffee shop with me, Gus," Shawn Spencer told his friend. He noisily slurped the last of his coffee drink as he walked across the dark parking lot. "No one else was there. I was served right away."
"Shawn, it's almost midnight!" his friend's voice came through the cell phone, sounding irritated and tired. "No sane person is out getting coffee, at this time of night! And, we were right there this morning. Couldn't you have gotten your coffee then?" "
"I didn't want coffee then," Shawn responded simply.
"You're not going to sleep tonight, and what will you do tomorrow?" Gus continued to rant. "We're supposed to be working on that string of pawn shop robberies that have been happening all over Santa Barbra. You won't sleep and then tomorrow, you'll be too exhausted to do any serious work."
Tossing the empty cup towards a trash can, Shawn rejoiced as it went in. "I am working on the case, Gus!" he answered, walking down the sidewalk. "And when do I ever do serious work? No, I'm drinking coffee so I can think. We are so close to tracking those guys down. I can feel it."
Gus snorted. "And what makes you think its more than one person?" he challenged. "You've barely looked at the police reports the chief provided for us. All you've really done is annoy Lassiter!"
"An important task someone has to do, and I am willing to make the sacrifice," Shawn said, glancing up the street. When he did, he spotted several odd things. One: a pick up truck sitting in front of a pawn shop facing the wrong way on the street. Two: a light from the shop shone on the sidewalk with several shadows moving around. Three: there were no other lights on in the block. "Hey, Gus. How late is a pawn shop open?"
"You really need to read the police files sometimes, Shawn. Most pawn shops are open twenty fours," Gus answered promptly. He paused and continued, "Though I think most have started closing at five since the robberies have been taking place. Why do you ask?"
"Well, I think one is being robbed right now," Shawn answered, lowering his voice. He spotted a figure coming out of the building, carrying something and threw himself into a doorway. "Yeah. It's that place where we talked to the owner this morning. I'm going to sneak up and have a look at these guys. Then, I can psychically give the police a description, a license plate number, and the case will be solved!"
"Shawn! You are not going to do any such thing!" Gus squawked in horror. "Call the police! Let them handle it!"
"And tell them what? That I was psychically drawn to a coffee shop at midnight because the spirits knew another robbery was taking place?" Shawn scoffed. "That's no plausible story at all! I'm hanging up now. I'll call you when I know something, okay?"
Gus was still protesting when the call was ended. Tip toeing, Shawn made his way towards the pawn shop. He flattened himself against the wall of the shop. Leaning over, he peered into the window. He saw three men, rifling through everything. None of them had on masks.
"Like what you see?" A gruff voice asked.
Intent on memorizing their descriptions, Shawn jumped. He turned to see a large outline of a man in front of him. "Well, you know, I've been meaning to get a Wii game system for my office," he answered, thinking quickly. "I saw this place still had lights on, so I decided to check it out."
The man chuckled. "You're a liar," he accused, his tone becoming hard.
"Okay, you got me," Shawn said, holding up his hands. "The truth is I'm a psychic. I received a message… from the other side that you guys were going to be here. I want to save you a lot of trouble and five you a chance to surrender before the cops get here."
As if to verify Shawn's words, sirens sounded in the distance. "Gus!" Shawn groaned under his breath.
All at once, something gleamed in the light. Shawn didn't have time to react before the cross bow smashed into the side of his head. Feeling himself falling to the ground, Shawn heard the robbers run to the truck and drive off. The sirens were getting closer, but Shawn blacked out as he hit the ground.
The sound of voices reached through the darkness. Groaning, Shawn opened his eyes. "He's waking!" Gus' familiar voice exclaimed overhead. Blinking rapidly for focus in dim light, Shawn peered up at his friend, who was leaning in close to his face. "Are you alright, Robin?"
"What are you talking about, Gus?" Shawn demanded, putting a hand up to his aching head. "My name's not Robin."
Horrified, Gus recoiled. "The blow to his head must have confused him, Much," another familiar voice said, sounding concerned. Turning his head, Shawn spotted Buzz from the police department… only he was dressed in green tights and a wood brown tunic. It was the same outfit Gus had on to. "What are we going to do?"
Shawn pulled himself into a sitting position, and almost immediately regretted it. "What happened?" he asked, waiting for his head to stop spinning so he could look around. "The last thing I remember is getting hit with that bow thing, and now I wake up to men in tights?"
"There's a traveler on the north road!" an unfamiliar voice called from outside.
Frowning, Gus looked from Shawn to Buzz. "You go help the men handle this one, Will," he said. "I'll get Robin sorted out."
Nodding, McNabb -or Will, as Gus had called him- hurried out the door of the hut. "You really had us worried, Robin," Gus said, crouching down next to Shawn. "We found you in the forest unconscious. Whoever hit you must not have wanted you dead."
"Why do you keep calling me Robin?" Shawn demanded. "Gus, it's me! Shawn!"
Wisely, Gus nodded. "That's the name you were using to infiltrate the sheriff's castle," he replied. "You're Robin of Locksley, remember?"
"Robin of Locksley?" Shawn repeated incredulously. He rubbed his head. "Wait- you mean Robin Hood? That's who you think I am?"
"See, you do remember!" Gus exclaimed with a grin.
"And you are who? Little John?" Shawn laughed. "Come on, you're fooling with me now."
Laughing, Gus shook his head. "Of course not! Little John is out guarding the south road," he replied. "I am Much, your loyal friend. I'm the one who sent everyone out to find you when you didn't come back." He stood up. "We should get back to work."
"Right. Robbing the rich to feed the poor," Shawn said, holding up his hand. Gus, or Much as he was calling himself, pulled him up. Horrified, Shawn glanced down to see he was wearing the same green and brown clothes as the others. "Don't tell me this is Men in Tights!" Gus/ Much stared at him uncomprehendingly. "Never mind. And McNabb- I mean that guy who was just in here? Who's he supposed to be?"
"That was Will Scarlet," Gus/Much explained, sounding extremely long suffering. He pulled aside the flap across the doorway and gestured for Shawn to go first. "Come on, Robin. You've been out for two days now! The sheriff and Gisbourne probably think you've given up."
Shawn stepped outside. The sun was filtering through the leaves. A fire was smoldering in the center of the camp. There was no one in sight. "Let me guess, everyone is out to steal from the traveler on the north road," Shawn commented as Gus/Much came out behind him.
"Not exactly," his friend answered. He held out a bow and quiver of arrows. "You're going to need these. The sheriff has been planning something big, and we really need to stop whatever he is up to."
Skeptically, Shawn took the offered weapons. Gus/Much ran in what Shawn assumed was the direction to the north road. "This is going to be awesome," Shawn said, slinging the quiver and bow onto his back. Ignoring the pain in his head, he grinned as he took off after his friend.
Breathing heavily, Gus ran down the hospital corridor. He skidded to a stop in front of a door. Taking a deep breath, he turned the knob and pushed the door open. "Mr. Spencer, may I come in?" he asked, seeing the single person sitting by the hospital bed.
"Yeah, sure, Gus," Henry Spencer said, straightening up.
Slowly, Gus walked into the room. His best friend lay on the hospital bed, eyes closed. There was a steady beep from the heart monitor. "The cops found him unconscious at the pawn shop," Henry explained, his tone subdued. "The doctors say he has a concussion. He hasn't come to yet."
"Did they get the guy who did this?" Gus asked, looking at the former cop.
Henry shook his head. "No one was in the area when the authorities got there," he answered. "What was Shawn doing in that area, Gus?"
"Getting coffee," Gus told him. Henry looked at him in disbelief. "He insisted he had to try the new coffee shop. He called me to tell me about it. I tried to get him to focus on our new case, but he wouldn't listen to me."
"Why am I not surprised," Henry said, looking at his son. "Did he say anything else?"
"He said someone was robbing the pawn shop and then just hung up," Gus replied with a shrug. "That's when I called the police." He frowned as he thought. He hesitated before he asked, "Have the police said if an arrow was found at the scene or not?"
Raising his eyebrows, Henry turned his full attention to the young man. "As a matter of fact, that Detective O'Hara mentioned something about finding another arrow," he answered. Thoughtfully, Gus nodded. "What does that mean to you, Gus?"
"It has to do with the case Shawn and I just got," Gus answered. "You know the string of pawn shop robberies around town?" Henry nodded. "At every shop, the cops found a black arrow; a small one that would go with a cross bow. The chief put us on the case. Shawn said on the phone we were close to catching the guys."
"'Guys'?" Henry repeated. "Shawn thought there was more than one person behind the robberies?"
Gus shrugged. "That's what he said."
Thoughtfully, Henry glanced at his still son. "So Shawn must have gotten to close and was found out," he guessed. "I can see him doing exactly that. But we won't know until he wakes up."
"Can I get you anything?" Gus asked, trying to be helpful.
"No, I'm fine," Henry answered, leaning back in his chair. He crossed his arms. "Have a seat. It might be awhile. Knowing Shawn, he'll take as long as he can to wake up. There's no telling what is going on in that head of his."
Jogging, Shawn tried to keep up with his friend. "So, is there anything else I should remember?" he asked. "Or should we just
Before his friend could answer, there came an angry shout. "Let me go this instant!"
Hearing another familiar voice, Shawn slowed down. "Is that who I think it is?"
"Alright!" Gus/Much exclaimed gleefully. "It sounds like they caught Sir Guy of Gisbourne!"
They came out of the trees by a dirt road. Shawn broke out into a wide grin as he took in the scene. One dark haired man in black clothing was on his knees by a carriage. "I have a mission to complete," Lassiter snapped. "If you don't let me continue, there will be royal consequences!""Lassie!" Shawn exclaimed. "I was wondering where you would show up!"
"Robin," Gus said, in exasperation. He turned around. "That's Sir Guy of Gisbourne. The man who took over your family lands when you became an outlaw, remember? It might not be a good idea to let him know you don't remember what's happened."
Lassiter/Gisbourne was staring at them. "No problems, I've got this," Shawn said, pushing past Much, or Gus; Shawn was confused about what he should call his best friend. "Gizzy! Good to see you again! You thought I was dead, right? Isn't this great? Everyone all together."
"You," Lassiter/Gisbourne hissed. "I should have known it wouldn't be as easy the sheriff claimed it would be to get rid of you."
"Well, you can tell your sheriff I'm still around," Shawn told him cheerfully. He walked over to the carriage. He spotted an ornate crest on the door. "And just what are you up to this time? Gus-Much, open the carriage."
"No!" his friend exclaimed. "What are you doing, Robin? You're not making any sense!"
Spinning around, Shawn pointed at Lassiter/Gisbourne. "You said there would be royal consequences," he said. "Who exactly are you escorting? That prince you and the sheriff person are working for? What's his name? Prince Harry? No, Prince William. Why are these names not sounding right?"
"I think you mean Prince John," Gus answered. He glared at Gisbourne. "He's been trying to usurp the throne for several years now." Gus glanced at the carriage."Are you taking Prince John to Nottingham? Is that what you're doing?"
The carriage door swung open. "As a matter of fact, he isn't," a strong, feminine voice said. Moments later, a fair haired woman in a long red gown stepped out. A small, gold crown glistened on her head. "I am Elinor, King Richard and Prince John's mother."
"You know, I had a feeling it was you," Shawn said, moving closer. He grabbed her hand and kissed it. "It is a pleasure to meet you, your Majesty. I am Sir Robin of Locksley, otherwise known as Robin Hood, at your service. Can I call you Chief?"
Raising her eyebrows, Chief Vick/Queen Elinor pulled her hand free. "Is there something I can do for you gentlemen?" she asked. "Or will you kindly allow my escort back up and I can continue on my way?"
"Let him up, guys," Shawn ordered. "He's no good to anyone on the ground."
Skeptically, Gus/Much nodded to the other merry men. Lassiter/Gisbourne got to his feet. He walked over to the queen. "I thought I told you to stay inside the carriage," he said in a low voice, putting his hand on her elbow. "We should go now. The sheriff is expecting us."
"I'm the queen, Gisbourne," Chief Vick/Queen Elinor told him with a fake smile. She pulled free of her escort. "No one tells me what to do. Is that understood?"
Chastened, Lassiter/Gisbourne stepped away. "I really don't think you should go to the lovely Nottingham," Shawn said. Everyone looked at him. "Well, you know, that's just my opinion."
"And why would you say that?" the queen asked.
"Don't listen to him," Gisbourne told her. "He's lying! He broke into the treasury in the castle and stole everything! Now he's obviously going to steal everything you have!"
Curiously, the queen continued to wait expectantly. "You see, I know for a fact that the sheriff and Gizzy here have been doing a lot of planning," Shawn explained, pointing a finger at the dumbfounded Gisbourne. "And if I know these guys, which I do, I would say they are up to something nefarious!"
Regarding him contemplatively, Queen Elinor nodded. "As a mother, it is my duty to try and resolve my sons' conflict," she said. Gisbourne started to grin. "On the other hand, if something were to happen to me, it would further estrange my sons. Very well, Robin Hood, I will pass up Nottingham and have my guards escort me elsewhere until I hear further word from you."
"Your Majesty!" Gisbourne protested.
"Say one more word and I will lock you in the dungeon," the queen threatened. Gisbourne's mouth closed instantly. "Good. Now hurry back to your sheriff and tell him I won't be visiting."
She turned to climb back into her carriage. After sending a cheeky grin at his enemy, Shawn hurried to help her in. "Don't let me down, Hood," the woman said in a low voice. "Or Gisbourne won't be the one locked in the dungeon."
"No problem," Shawn answered, stepping back. He waved as the carriage started forward. "Tough luck, Gisbourne!"
"You are a thorn in my side, which I will find a way to remove," Lassiter/Gisbourne hissed.
Turning his back on the man, Shawn gestured to his band of men. "Let's go," he said. "We've got a plot to uncover at Nottingham."
As he sipped his coffee in the waiting room of the hospital, Gus caught sight of two familiar detectives coming towards him. "Lassiter, Juliet," Gus said, moving to meet them. "Have you learned anything new?"
"I'm afraid not, Gus," Detective Juliet O'Hara responded. "Has Shawn woken up yet?""No," Gus answered, shaking his head. "The doctors are hopeful." He paused. "Mr. Spencer says Shawn will take his time about waking up, so pretty much it's anyone's guess."
Lassiter snorted. "Of course he would," he said. "Look, we are running out of options and the chief is hounding us to solve this case. Is there anything Spencer told you that could help us catch these guys?"
Thoughtfully, Gus shook his head. "I've already told you everything Shawn said," he answered. "Yesterday morning, we were talking to all the pawn shop owners in town. Shawn thought he might be able to get a lead on something if he went to all the places that had been hit and the ones that hadn't…."
"Mr. Rigoberto, how does it feel, knowing all your fellow pawn shop owners have been robbed ruthlessly?" Shawn asked, staring at the big man behind the counter.
"It's a little scary," Rigoberto responded, staring back at Shawn. He reached under the counter and brought up a shotgun. "Those thieves better not come within a mile of my place, or they'll regret it!"
Uneasy, Gus took a huge step back. Shawn just nodded. "If I ever get in touch with the criminals, I will be sure to pass your warning along," he informed the man. "Until then, the police will be patrolling the area around all the pawn shops. That must make you feel safer."
Rigoberto's eyes narrowed. "I don't trust the cops," he said curtly. He gestured to his assistant. "Bert, clean these things up."
The heavy set assistant came over and opened the display case. Shawn nodded. "And I completely understand why you wouldn't trust the cops. They're useless! I mean, I solve half their crimes for them," he responded. Glancing down, his eyes landed on the display of bows displayed beneath the glass. "You better lock those down, Mr. Rigoberto The thieves go after stuff like that."
"I'll keep it in mind," Rigoberto answered, tightly. "If you don't mind, I have a business to run."
"No problem," Shawn told him. He turned and walked out with Gus right behind him. "This shop is going to be hit next."
"How can you possibly know that?" Gus demanded. He pulled out his phone. "If you're serious, we should call Juliet and warn her."
For a moment, Shawn considered it. "Nah," he said. "It's just a hunch. Probably. Anyways, we have four more places to hit..."
"So, Spencer just said he was being drawn to that area psychically and it all started with a hunch?" Lassiter asked skeptically.
Gus shrugged. "I don't understand how his mind works sometimes," he answered. "If there is anything I can do to help, call me."
"Yeah, well," Lassiter said. He cleared his throat and looked aside. "I can't believe I'm going to say this, but we need Spencer. There is no correlating evidence from any of the pawn shop robberies beyond the black arrow. There is no pattern whatsoever, besides the fact that the perpetrator leaves behind that annoying arrow."
Glancing at her partner, Juliet leaned closer to Gus. "Don't mind him," she advised in a low voice. "He's just upset that he hasn't solved this case yet."
"We are so close to catching these guys, I know it!" Lassiter growled.
"Detectives." Turning, they all saw Henry Spencer came towards them. "Have you found anything?" the man asked, getting straight to the point.
"Not yet, Mr. Spencer," Juliet answered. "How's your son?"
"There's no change," Henry responded. He pointed a finger at Lassiter and Juliet. "You're not doing any good hanging around here. Get out there and find whoever it is who did this to my son."
Affronted, Lassiter took a step forward. He said, "Mr. Spencer, I assure you, we are doing everything in our power to get to the bottom of this crime."
Henry turned and walked away. Exchanging looks with Gus, Juliet moved towards the door. "If we hear anything, we'll let you know," she promised. She hesitated. "Call if Shawn wakes up."
"I will," Gus said.
The town of Nottingham was just visible in the distance. Shawn walked along with a frown on his face. Concerned, Gus/Much glanced over at his friend. "Are you feeling alright, Robin?" he asked. "You're unusually quiet. In fact, I've never seen you this quiet."
"I feel like I should remember something," Shawn answered. He shifted the bow on his shoulder and put a hand up to his aching head. "Maybe if you keep talking, something will come to me."
"What do you want me to talk about?"
"Anything! You're good at that, right buddy?
Glancing at him from the corner of his eyes, Much shrugged. "We think the sheriff is using someone new to get to us," he said. "We all know the Gisbourne is useless at out-thinking you. The fact that he was being used as an escort for Queen Elinor proves that. He wouldn't have been anywhere near the place you were attacked."
"I think I like you better this way," Shawn mused, out loud. "You appreciate my talents more. Ok. I think I'm getting something. It has something to do with a girl named Mikayla, who will bring trouble." He paused. "Does that name mean anything to you, Gus-or Much, or whatever you prefer to be called?"
"Much, and no," Much answered, looking at him strangely. "That blow to the head must have knocked something loose in your head because you have been acting very odd."
Dropping his hand, Shawn eyed him for moment. "Have you ever wondered why we don't speak with an English accent?" he asked. "I mean, we're in England, right? Don't tell me this is that one version where the lead actor's accent kept slipping. That would make Buzz my half brother, which would be weird, and you would be a strange foreign guy."
Stopping abruptly, Much turned around and started in the other direction. "That's it," he said. "We are going back to camp. You are clearly not up to going into town. I should have known there would be consequences to your injury!"
Shaking his head, Shawn winced at the stab of pain. "We've come this far," he said. "The chief- I mean, the queen- is counting on us to see what's going on. So, you can go back if you want, but I am going to see this through to the end! Now, which way into town?"
Groaning, Gus came back. "This is going to end badly," he said as he once again took the lead.
"Hey, here's a thought," Shawn exclaimed moments later. "Where's the lovely Maid Marian? She always helps us out, right?"
"You don't remember me, but you think of her easily enough," Gus/Much complained. "We'll probably find her in Nottingham. Which reminds me, we've got to blend in or else the sheriff's men will pick us out of the crowd and have us hung."
"Not being hung would be a good thing," Shawn agreed.
Rolling his eyes, his friend headed in a different direction.
At the wrecked pawn shop, the two detectives were interrogating the owner of the shop. Disbelieving, Lassiter stared at the large, friendly looking man. "Are you serious, Mr. Rigoberto?" he asked. The man shrugged. "Your security system was destroyed? You only had one?"
"We've never had a problem with robberies before this crime spree started," Rigoberto answered, his tone defensive. He cleared his throat. "The thugs took it out first thing, I'd imagine, just like all the others. Now I'll have to put in another one. You cops can't seem to get anything done without it."
"For your information," Lassiter started to say, his tone heated.
"Thank you for your time, Mr. Rigoberto," Juliet interrupted. She grabbed Lassiter's arm and started to pull him towards the door. She tripped over a silver cross bow that was broken in two, but quickly regained her balance. "We'll stop by again if we should think of any more questions."
"What about my shop?" the pawn shop owner demanded. "When can I start cleaning it up? I have a business to run!"
"Go ahead and start," Lassiter told him, haughtily. "We can't learn anything else from the scene."
Outside, Juliet let go of her partner's arm and glared at him. "Way to let him get to you, Carlton," she snapped. "Couldn't you tell he was just trying to aggravate you?"
"Well, he succeeded," Lassiter responded, just as sharply. "Can't he see we are doing the best that we can? We have nothing to go with! These guys are extremely intelligent. They've not left any kind of clue behind besides that annoying arrow."
"We'll catch them, Carlton," Juliet told him. "Once Shawn is back on his feet, maybe he'll pick up on something that will lead us straight to these guys."
Lassiter pulled out his sunglasses on put them on. "The fact that we need that…annoying psychic to solve our case is not very reassuring," he said. He headed for the car.
Shaking her head, Juliet followed him.
With Much leading the way, the two outlaws wound their way through the people who filled the streets of Nottingham. "The sheriff is going to be making some kind of announcement," Gus said over his shoulder, his voice just above a whisper. "We should get to the castle quickly."
"A castle," Shawn repeated. "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I've always wanted to explore a castle."
Again, Gus looked at him strangely. "Robin, you're snuck into that castle more times than I can remember," he pointed out. He hesitated and then suggested, "Why don't you let me go see what the sheriff has to say, and you'll stay here. I'll be back as soon as I can."
"You're not going to get rid of me that easily," Shawn told him as he walked past where his friend stood. He looked around. "The castle is this way, right? You know I have a terrible time with directions."
Reluctantly, Gus/Much started walking again. "Just remember to keep your head down," he advised.
Shawn snorted. "Don't you think I've done this whole undercover thing before?" he responded. Puzzled, Much glanced back at him with a frown. "Right. Wrong term for this period I guess. I'm good at hiding, so you've got nothing to worry about."
Still looking worried, Much led the way into the courtyard of the Nottingham castle. Hanging towards the back of the crowd, Much glanced around the gathered crowd. "Look," he said, nodding towards a balcony. "There's Marian. It's going to be hard to get to her."
Curious, Shawn looked in that direction. "Why am I not surprised?" he said as he took in the blonde haired woman. She was talking to Gisbourne/Lassiter. "Is it just me or do those two seem pretty close, considering the fact that old Gizzy there is one of the bad guys?"
"I don't want to hear it, Robin," Gus/Much hissed. "You've been jealous ever since you've been back. Marian is just trying to be nice to the guy. Get over it."
Thoughtfully, Shawn nodded. "BBC," he muttered. "I knew it would get stuck in my head if Gus made me watch it."
Trumpets sounded and everyone's attention went to the front of the castle. A balding man dressed in black with a fur around his neck walked out. "You have got to be kidding me," Shawn said, staring in disbelief. "Dad?"
Gus immediately turned around. "Now I know you're mixed up," he said, reaching for his friends arm. "Your father is dead, remember? We've got to get you back to camp now."
"Shh! I want to hear this," Shawn said, waving his friend's hand away.
"People of Nottingham," Henry Spencer/Sheriff of Nottingham called out. The already quiet crowd became even more silent. "We were going to have the great honor of a visit from the Queen Mother. However, thanks to an attack from Robin Hood, Queen Elinor has decided to visit a different town. On top of it all, Hood has taken all of your taxes for himself and now you all have to pay again."
A surprised stir went through the crowd. "This is so weird," Shawn whispered to his friend.
"What? That the sheriff would do something like this?" Gus/Much responded curiously. "Because, honestly, I'm not all that surprised."
"No," Shawn answered. "It's weird how easily my dad fits into this role!"
"I would like you all to meet this man," the sheriff continued, gesturing to a heavy set man beside him. "He is my new right hand man. If he asks anything of you, I want you to obey as if it were me giving the order. That is all. Go about you pathetic lives."
He turned to go back into the castle. "Dude, I've just solved it," Shawn said to his friend. He dramatically flipped his cape off and strode forward. "Hey! Sheriff! I'd like to have a word with you, if you don't mind."
The crowd parted for him as the sheriff turned back. "Hood!" the sheriff exclaimed. "I honestly thought better of you. You dare to just walk into my castle like you're the one charge?"
"Well, I'd just like to set the record straight," Shawn told him, continuing his stroll up to the castle steps. "See, there's no way I could have stolen all these people's taxes. Your man there hit me over the head -what was it?- two days ago? Surely he must have told you that."
Castle guards were pushing through the crowd towards him. From the balcony, Juliet/Marian was glaring at him. "Robin, we've got to get out of here!" Much hissed, trying to pull his friend away.
"That was a really stupid move, Shawn," the sheriff said. "Did you speak up just to clear your name?"
"And to tell you the truth, you look ridiculous in that outfit," Shawn responded as a guard grabbed his arm. He frowned. "Did you just call me Shawn?"
"Lock them in the dungeons," the sheriff ordered. "They hang at dawn."
Shaking his head, Henry Spencer sat back in his chair. "Doc, I've tried talking to him," he said, looking across the room at the young female doctor. "What do you think I've been doing the whole time I've been here? Shawn has never listened to me before. I see no reason for him to start now."
Sighing, the doctor made a note on the chart. "Mr. Spencer, I am very concerned that your son has shown no signs of waking up," she answered, her tone serious. "If he doesn't come to soon, there is the possibility he will slip into a coma and never wake up."
Crossing his arms, Henry shrugged. "Well, I know my son, Doc," he responded. "And he is going to wake up when he wants to wake up and there's nothing I can do to persuade him any different. What more do you want me to do?"
"It might not be a good idea to say he was stupid," the doctor suggested tentatively. "Tell him how you feel."
Offering one last encouraging smile, the doctor left the room. "How I feel," Henry repeated to himself. "Ok, Shawn. You want to know how I feel? I think you were an idiot to go near that place alone." He paused. "It's useless talking to you like this. You've got to wake up, son. At least I'd get some kind of come back then."
Breathing quickly, Gus/Much grasped the cell bars and tried to shake them. "This is all your fault, Robin," he said over his shoulder. "I should have known you couldn't be ready after that hit on the head."
Sitting on the floor, Shawn had his head leaned back against the wall. "So really, you're saying its your fault for letting me come," he clarified. His friend glared at him. "Oh, stop trying to shake the bars loose. I'm pretty sure their not going to come out."
He rubbed the side of his head, flinching as voices seemed to echo. A door creaked nearby. Quick footsteps caught their attention. Moments later, Marian was entering their area of dungeon. A guard stepped forward to intercept her, but she hauled her hand back and punched him.
"Nice hit, Jules!" Shawn applauded. The woman gave him a strange look as she pulled the keys into view. "I knew we could count on you to be here to rescue us!"
"I don't know what you're up to, Robin, but this is not helping the people of Nottingham," Marian snapped, unlocking the door. "Now, I got word to your men. Their waiting for you outside. The sheriff and Sir Guy are having a meeting with that Rigoberto, so your path should be clear."
Quickly, Much and Shawn exited the cell. "You are awesome," Shawn told the woman. He leaned in and kissed her cheek. "When we get out of this, I will find some way to repay you."
"Just go," Marian snapped, though she looked slightly pleased.
Just outside the dungeons, Shawn and Much were met by McNabb/Will Scarlet. "Here," the young man said, handing them their weapons. "It's still quiet out, so we can make it back to the forest if we hurry. Little John and Tuck are waiting by the castle gates."
Immediately, Much took off. "Thanks," Shawn said to Will, shouldering the bow and quiver of arrows. He followed Much, and Will followed him. "You know, you can go on ahead."
"We lost you once, Robin," McNabb/Will told him seriously. "It's not going to happen again."
"I appreciate that," Shawn responded. "I'm glad someone missed me."
The trio reached the courtyard. Shawn spotted a large man waving to them from the shadows by the gates. As they moved to go that way, a voice shattered the night silence. "Going somewhere, Hood? I would have thought you would take your pretty friend."
Shawn turned to see Rigoberto standing at the top of the stairs, holding Juliet/Marian hostage. The thug had a knife at the fair haired woman's throat. At that moment, castle guards came rushing out of the shadows. The band of merry men turned to meet the attack.
Shawn's eyes hadn't wavered from the thug and Juliet/Marian. Rigoberto's eyes shifted to the fighting men. Quickly, Shawn swung the bow off his shoulder and pulled an arrow out. "Take the shot," McNabb/Will called out.
Rigoberto's eyes flicked over to Shawn and he scowled at him. "Drop it, outlaw," Rigoberto warned, pressing the blade into the woman's throat. "I will kill the little traitor before you even let go of the bow string. I'm not going to let you ruin the good thing I've got going for me."
Uneasily, Shawn continued to hesitate. "You can do it!" Gus/Much shouted at him. "Hurry before the sheriff comes out and arrests us all again!"
"You can't do it," Rigoberto taunted.
At that jab, Shawn's eyes narrowed. "For your information, I worked at an archery field for two weeks," Shawn told him, pulling the bow string back. He carefully aimed, and let the arrow fly. He held his breath as the arrow shot straight into the man's shoulder.
Grunting in pain, Rigoberto let go of Marian, who bolted away from the thug. "Yes!" Shawn whooped. He held his hand out to the woman. Marian ran to him, putting her hand in his. Grinning, Shawn ran from the courtyard, his gang surrounding him.
"It's about time," Juliet/Marian said, smiling at him as they ran.
"There's one thing I forgot!" Shawn said, face palming. To his gang's bewilderment, he stopped and turned to the woman. "After every rescue, Robin Hood always gets a kiss."
He leaned forward to kiss her. A flood of images flashed before his eyes: the silver cross bow beneath the pawn shop counter, the big man standing before him next to the pawn shop ,and finally the flash of the cross bow in the air. Familiar voices became clearer and clearer…
Shawn opened his eyes. He sucked his breath in as pain hit him. He raised a hand to his head as he closed his eyes again. "I should have stayed asleep," he mumbled. He cracked one eye open as a hand grasped his. "Dad? What are you doing here?"
"Hey, Shawn," Henry said. "How're you feeling?"
"Like Gus made a mime mad and the mime hit me over the head with an invisible piano," Shawn answered, pulling his hand away. He peered around the blaring white room. "Where am I? Wait-there's no smell, there's an IV in my hand, and you look like crap. I'm in the hospital, aren't I? Why am I in a hospital? Oh my god, am I going to die?"
Pulling his hand back, Henry shook his head. "No, Shawn, you're not going to die, and you know why you're here," he said. "What do you remember?"
"I was watching the pawn shop and someone hit me over the head," Shawn answered, throwing his arm over his eyes. "Why is it so bright out?"
"Because you've been unconscious for over 24 hours. It's the middle of the day," Henry answered, turning to glance out the window. When he turned back, he was met by Shawn sitting up. "Hey, where do you think you're going? Lay back down!"
"Nope, I've got to get out of here," Shawn answered. "I have solved the crime."
Leaning up against the pawn shop, Shawn glanced at his watch. Gus' blue Echo pulled up in front of the shop, followed closely by Lassiter's dark blue car. Juliet was the first to jump out. "Shawn, are you alright?" she called out. "When were you released from the hospital?"
"Technically, I haven't been," Shawn answered, pushing himself up. He put his hand up to his head. "I had to come as soon as possible. I am sensing something strong coming from within this building. The...mastermind behind the pawnshop robberies is in there."
He pointed a shaking finger at the building. Exchanging skeptical glances with Juliet, Lassiter led the way in. "Dude, are you alright?" Gus hissed. "When did you wake up? Does your dad know you're here?"
"I'm fine," Shawn answered, flinching as he walked into the pawn shop. "I woke up about an hour ago, and no, Dad doesn't know where I am. I had to sneak out while he went to find the doctor."
The owner and his assistant looked started at the intrusion. "Can I help you?" Rigoberto demanded, glaring at the group. His gaze fell on Shawn. "Hey, I know you! You're that psychic."
"Yes, I am," Shawn responded. "And I have been brought here to put a stop to the pawn shop robberies." He closed his eyes. "I can see it all. Money has been tight, and work has been stressful. You thought you and your friend could get away with it. After all, you know where every security system is in every other place. How hard could it be?"
Lassiter unholstered his gun, glaring at the two men behind the counter. "But you made a mistake," Shawn continued. "You used the very crossbow from this shop. To hid it, you knew you had to rob this very store soon, or else someone would get suspicious."
"Rigoberto, you're-" Lassiter started to say, stepping towards the owner, who protested.
The assistant edged towards the door. Shawn opened his eyes and looked at Lassiter in surprise. "Him?" he said. "No. It's the quiet, unassuming assistant, who always has to do the dirty work around here, right, Bert?"
"Bert?" Rigoberto exclaimed, turning around.
Instantly, Bert snatched up a gun and bolted for the back, shoving a display aside. "O'Hara, go around!" Lassiter snapped, scrambling over the obstacle.
"You two, stay here," Juliet ordered before running out the front door.
"Is there a side door?" Shawn asked, picking up a bow and arrow. Nodding, Rigoberto pointed it out.
Glancing over his shoulder, Bert ran as hard as he could through the alley. He shot at Lassiter, who dodged to the side When he looked back, Shawn stood in the middle of the alley, aiming at him. An arrow flew through the air….and hit a trash can six feet away from Bert.
"Aw, come on!" Shawn groaned.
Bert raised his gun and aimed at Shawn. "I should have killed you when I had the chance," he growled.
A gunshot sounded. Spinning around, Bert hit the ground. Cautiously, Lassiter ran over and kicked the gun out of the man's hand. "You are under arrest," the detective said smugly. "Tell us who your accomplices were, and we might go easy on you.
Bert groaned in pain. Gus and Juliet came running up. Shawn sagged against the wall. "Ok," he said. "I think I should go back to the hospital now."
"So, was your dad really mad that you snuck out?" Gus asked as he and Shawn walked out of the hospital.
"Well, since he's not here to pick me up, I would say, yeah," Shawn answered. "Thanks again for coming. I was afraid I'd have to sweet talk a nurse into driving me home."
Gus snorted. "If you don't tell me what was going on inside your head while you were unconscious, I might just leave you to find a nurse," he threatened as they approached his blue Echo. Shawn smirked, but remained silent. "Come on! You were out for 36 hours. You must have had some kind of dream."
"I did, and it was awesome," Shawn told him. He relented when Gus didn't unlock the car door. "I was Robin Hood, ok? You were there too."
"Did we save the day?"
"You know we did!" Shawn said, opening the passenger door.
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