Vegetarians may become squeamish (and this story should not to be taken seriously). ;)
This drabble was modified a little since it's first posting at the Camelot_Drabble LJ community. Special thanks the wonderful Elenika for the beta read. All mistakes are, as always, mine. :)
Arthur burst out of his chambers, stumbling down the corridor and colliding head-first into Merlin.
The soiled linen Merlin had been ferrying to the washerwoman went airborne, landing on top of the men and trapping them underneath a stinking cage of cloth. They wrestled under the sheets, questing for fresh air, and it was Arthur who found it first, peeking his head out from under a bedspread.
"I've been attacked!" Arthur gasped, his cheeks flush with excitement.
Merlin wiggled free of the linen and surveyed his master, taking in the parsley on Arthur's left cheek and the gravy stains peppering his tunic. "Are you sure you didn't just fall asleep in your supper plate again?" he asked, unhooking his limbs from Arthur's.
"I most certainly did not!" Arthur said, fighting to stand. "This is all the chicken's fault!"
Merlin scrunched his nose, trying to decipher Arthur's raving. "And what's wrong with your supper today? Let me guess, you think the chicken's overdone? Or there isn't enough salt-"
"No. It was, that is to say—as soon as I set my knife into it," Arthur glanced hesitantly back at his chamber door. "It leapt on my face and beat me with its wings."
Merlin couldn't say what face he was making, but he knew it was bad by the way Arthur's upper lip twitched at him, revealing a pearly slice of teeth. He heaped the linen back into a manageable ball, tying his best not to snicker.
In truth Merlin believed Arthur's every word, but he couldn't exactly voice the reason why.
He'd only meant to use a teeny, tiny enchantment on the king's supper plate, and only because he was tired of drilling holes into Arthur's belts. When Arthur had approached Merlin that evening, commanding him to fetch a whole roast chicken for his supper, (a meal fit for a family of peasants that his royal prattiness wouldn't dream of sharing a bite of, even with Merlin) well, that was the straw that broke the warlock's back.
Merlin wasn't even sure that the stupid spell had worked.
Well, until now. Lucky him.
"Let me see if I have this correct," Merlin said in a sing-song voice. "You're telling me that the chicken on your supper plate came to life and… clobbered you? Is that right?"
Arthur narrowed his eyes. "I am not crazy."
"So you think this is sorcery?"
"Brilliant observation, Merlin, just the quick thinking I'd expect of a man who spends half of his life holed up in the tavern. No. I think the chicken got bored of sitting on my plate and decided to go for a damn walk. If you don't believe me, go in and see for yourself!"
Merlin dropped his washing and walked to Arthur's door, slowly wedging it open. Running circles around the desk was the offending meal, a buttery ball of meat, jerking in the spastic movements of a corpse brought to life. When the chicken spotted Merlin it made a hollow noise from deep in its gut, expelling a burst of blood-red sauce through the hole in its neck.
Merlin yelped, slamming the door shut. He could end this foolishness now with a single incantation. But the horrified look in Arthur's eyes was rather satisfying.
He leaned against the door, staring at his master with all the seriousness the situation entailed. "So," Merlin swallowed. "Any idea how we roast the bird?"
"How do I usually try to kill things, Merlin?"
Merlin cocked his head to the side, frowning. "You're going to force the chicken to do menial labor? Muck out the stables? Wash your stinking mud covered breeches or-"
"Here's the plan," Arthur hissed yanking Merlin back by his neckerchief. "You distract whatever that thing is, while I cross the room and find Excalibur, understood?"
Merlin's face fell. He wiggled free of Arthur's grip. "But, what if it flies at me?" he shivered.
"It's not going to fly at you."
"Well it's not supposed to prance around like it's alive either, but that's not stopping it, is it?"
Arthur's cold scowl killed Merlin's second round of protests. Instead he peeked into the kings chambers a second time.
The chicken was still there; fatty drumsticks clacking as it paced. Merlin had encountered all manner of monsters during his time in Camelot. Dragons, the questing beast, the sour castle cook, but the supper currently flailing in Arthur's chambers the most disturbing of them all.
"On the count of three we charge in," Arthur whispered. "One, two-" He shoved Merlin forward, pushing him into chicken's line of sight as a sacrifice.
The chicken hobbled towards Merlin, flapping and hacking up its tasty innards.
Merlin let out an echoing howl. His boots scuffed the stone floor, buckles jingling as his legs scrambled for higher ground. He leapt onto Arthur's bed in a graceless tumble, the chicken fast at his heels.
Arthur, an experienced battle veteran, had already reached Excalibur at his writing desk. He freed the sword of its sheath in a fluid movement, pointing the glistening blade at the fleshy offender. As the chicken charged, leaping into the air, Arthur countered with a hollered curse. He cleaved the carcass perfectly in two, the halves dropping like stones to the floor, sauce pooling from the twitching body cavities.
As Arthur dropped the burden of tension in his shoulders, he shot Merlin a satisfied smile, as if to say, 'it's over'.
And then a wing flapped.
A drumstick kicked.
Arthur and Merlin gawking fish eyed at each other as the slabs of chicken dragged towards them with renewed vigor. The king took a running jump that landed him on the bed next to his manservant. The mattress surged up with the sudden influx of weight, Merlin's head bouncing into the velvet canopy.
"Bloody hell! How can it still be alive?" Arthur cried.
Merlin steadied himself back on the bed, knowing what had to be done.
As the chicken limped towards them Merlin yanked Excalibur from Arthur's grip. He jumped off of the bed and surged towards the chicken, swinging Excalibur behind his shoulder like a club. The chicken gurgled in fear, but it was too late for it, Merlin whispering an incantation as he hit the pieces of meat with a heaving backstroke, the chicken shooting out the open window like a comet.
Arthur's chest vibrated with laughter. "Merlin, you half-wit, you've done it!" he beamed, sailing off of the bed and crushing Merlin into a hug.
Excalibur fell limp from Merlin's wrist, his cheeks flushing from Arthur's rough touch. "Well, that was a situation most fowl, wasn't it?" he chuckled, elbowing Arthur's ribcage.
Arthur let go. He trailed his left hand across his face, grabbing Excalibur swiftly back with his right. "Mer-lin."
The king nodded, gesticulating to the sticky floor with his sword. "There's a clever lad. Now clean up this mess and find me a new supper from the kitchens. All this exertion has famished me."
"Any specific requests?" Merlin asked, swooning a little from Arthur's proximity.
Arthur gazed at his manservant, a pleased grin stretching across his face. "Anything. Well, anything but chicken."