twenty-three ; right here

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xxiii. right here

━ ❝ i'm right here, i trusted you ❞

━ ❝ i'm right here, i trusted you ❞

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EVERYONE WAS SILENT was Neal steered the group in a boat towards Skull Rock. There wasn't much to say because everyone was aware of the situation and what could happen if they were too late. But they also knew what would occur if Pan was harmed. Emma threw a quick glance to Arabella who was playing with the bottom portion of her green shirt, her lower lip brought towards her as she stared nervously into the night sky. A pitiful expression crossed the blondes face because she wasn't heartless. But she wouldn't let her son pay the price for Pan's actions.

They reached the shore soon enough, Neal exiting first and helping them out, tieing the boat to a rock, standing up straight. Emma took a few steps forward and looked down at the ground. "These are Henry's shoes. Wendy was right. They're here."

In reaction to her anxiety about the situation, Arabella fired a comment of: "You got that from a footprint? All you know it could be Peter's and he just as incredibly small feet." They all looked back at her and she shrugged. "What?" Gold sighed at his mother's words, knowing very well that she was nervous. Emma ignored her and walked up the stairs but then ended up being launched across the room, landing on her stomach on the floor.

Despite her slight anger, the brunette ran over to her, as did everyone else besides Rumple. "Are you alright, Emma?" Arabella helped her up, her eyes wide with concern.

"I think so." She brushed off the dust off the front of her black turtleneck tee. "What was that?" The Savior breathed deeply, her eyes narrowing at the invisible border that seemed to be blocking them from entering.

"Pan cast a protection spell," Gold told them.

"There has to be a way to break it," Regina responded with an annoyed look on her face. She made a fireball appear in her hand and Arabella moved fast, shouting Regina no before being cut off as the fireball was launched at the barrier, ricocheting off of it. They all ducked, the fire disappearing beyond them in a pile of ash. Neal yelled at her but Gold was calmer.

He shook his head. "Try all you want, but Pan's magic is too powerful. At least for you." They all watched as he walked to the protection spell and walked right through it. Everyone one of them was stunned. Even Arabella who had dabbled with magic longer than anyone there, including Pan. "The spell is designed to keep anyone who casts a shadow from entering."

Neal suddenly looked regretful. "And you don't have one. You were telling the truth about ripping your shadow off," Neal realized.

The former princess cringed a bit, her body shrinking away. She was taught that spell once but was never made to cast it. Imagining it was enough to know how it must have felt, ripping a part of yourself from your body. Gold nodded, looking over at his mother. "And Pan knows it. That's why he cast the spell he did. This isn't about keeping you out. It's about drawing me in. He knows I won't give up the chance to finish what I came here to do."

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