Hey everybody! I know it has been eons since I last updated this with and actual chapter, but I figured that since it is the holidays and I found time to write a new chapter, I'd update for you all. I'm not sure when I will get another chapter up because right now, Moving Forward is my main priority. That doesn't mean I won't update this again, that just means that it will take longer between chapters as I do not have any additional chapters written ahead of time. Anyways, hope you enjoy!

Chapter 8

The corridor smelled like a combination of rotten fish, stale air, and decaying flesh from the thousand or so prisoners there. As the guard walked through all the twists and turns in the underground prison, hands shot through iron bars reaching for the food on the tray he was carrying. When he reached his destination, he heard a slight murmuring coming from the inhabitant, which was unusual for this particular person. The guard couldn't make out what was being said, so he just opened the tray hatch at the bottom of the iron bars and slid in the tray of food.

"Eat up! And stop your mumbling!" The guard commanded before he turned around and started walking away before being stopped by the words of the prisoner.

"I remember! I remember! Please! I remember!" The prisoner yelled at the guard, causing him to turn around with a confused and questioning look on his face.

"What do you mean, prisoner? What do you remember?" The guard asked.

"I remember who I am! I remember," the prisoner said forcefully.

"Who are you then, prisoner? If you remember, who are you?" The guard mockingly asked.

"I remember, I remember, I remember," the prisoner kept repeating, and his words became quieter and quieter and back to the mumbling, but this time the guard knew what he was saying.

As the guard turned to leave again, he started to wonder who this man was and why he was in the prisons of the Old Camelot. Only the people who did something horrendous, but not traitorous enough to be executed, were sent down there. It made them go mad, which might have been what happened to the prisoner, but the guard wasn't so sure. The prisoner seemed lucid and seemed like he knew what he was talking about.

When the guard reached his post, his boss was there.

"What took you so long?" The boss questioned.

"A prisoner at the end of the corridors, the one that has always been quiet, started mumbling. When I turned to leave, he spoke up," the guard said.

"What did he say?" The boss wanted to know.

"He just kept repeating 'I remember. I remem-" But before the guard could finish, a loud crash and bang was heard from the direction of said prisoner.

"What was that?" The guard asked of his boss.

"I am not sure, but we should find out," The boss said and started walking back down the corridor from whence the guard just came. But before he could get very far, both he and the guard were thrown back against a wall by an invisible force.

"What was that?" The boss asked this time.

"That, Boss, was magic," the guard said.

As they both turned their heads back down towards the corridor, a man, the mumbling man from the cell, came walking up to them.

"I remember," he said to them both before walking out of the underground prison and into daylight once again.

-LMD-

Regina had magicked some new clothes on both herself and her youngest daughter after deciding to go back out and join the others. Robin had been reluctant at first, unsure if Regina was alright to be up and walking so soon after giving birth, but when Raina offered to heal her, Robin relented. So, with a pair of black skinny jeans and a red tank top and black blazer on, Regina holds her daughter close as they all head out of the library, Reagan righting everything and cleaning everything with a wave of her hand. When Regina, Robin, and the children walk out of the library, they are met with expressions of apprehension, confusion, and bewilderment.

"Is everything alright?" Robin inquires.

"What's going on?" Reagan wonders.

"What's happening?" Raina asks.

"Snow! Answers, please?" Regina demands.

Snow looks over at Regina reluctantly before taking a step towards her. "Regina, Merlin's gone."

"What do you mean, Snow?" Regina asks, getting really confused.

"She means that his body is gone," Rumple elaborates.

"What?!" Regina exclaims, her eyes going wide and her eyebrows nearly disappearing into her hairline.

Before anyone can say anything else, the door to the room bursts open and in walks a younger looking man with dark hair, brown eyes, and darker skin.

"Who are you?" The man asks, a slight accent to his voice.

"We could ask you the same thing," Regina says, handing Hope over to Robin who takes her immediately.

The man smirks, before taking a step further into the room. "The name's Merlin. The real one."

"How can we be sure you're telling the truth?" Regina asks skeptically.

"You can't, but have you discovered that the body of the man you originally thought was Merlin has suddenly disappeared?"

Regina looks at the man, trying to figure out if this is indeed the real Merlin. "What do you know of that?" She settles on asking.

"That man was an imposter of sorts. There have been many Merlins since the beginning of time, I am not the first, sort of like how there are multiple Dark Ones. When one dies, the person to kill them becomes the next Dark One. That's similar to what happens to us Merlins, except, we don't kill our predecessors. We are given a, sentence, I guess you could say. We are to serve a certain amount of time as Merlin, before passing it down to our apprentices. I was the apprentice to the man who you have just discovered has disappeared. He had already served his sentence, but loved being Merlin and the magic that came with it, so he locked me up, gave me a forgetting potion, and became Merlin once again. When he died, he spell was undone on me, and his body went where all Merlins go after dying," The new Merlin explains.

"Why didn't he want you to be Merlin?" Rumple asks skeptically.

"He just explained that he wanted the magic, surely you would understand that, Imp," Regina growls out, leveling Rumple with a glare, though a hint of confusion could be seen in her glare.

"That's part of the reason. He also felt I wasn't ready for the job yet, because when he finally found me, I was still pretty young and he was pretty far into his sentence. I knew all I needed, I was just too cocky and immature to take on the role," Merlin explains.

Rumple has the decency to look guilty, even if just for a brief moment, but it's nice to know he isn't a complete ass.

"So, I hear that a friend of yours has acquired the burden of the Dark One," Merlin says, breaking the silence that had fallen amongst everybody.

Snow looks up and nods her head, "Yes, my daughter. She's the Savior and while saving Regina, she took on the powers and became the Dark One so that the darkness wouldn't snuff out the light in Regina."

Merlin turns and looks at Regina who is taking back her daughter who had been becoming fussy. He walks closer to her, causing Regina to become startled when she looks up and sees Merlin so close to her.

"Regina? As in Queen Regina?" Merlin asks, looking Regina up and down before setting his face into a look of confusion. "The Evil Queen?"

Regina lets out a deflated sounding sigh, before nodding her head slightly. "Though I prefer Regina."

"Of course. My apologies. I've heard of your many trials, tribulations, and triumphs over the years. Well, the Merlin before me did, but like the Dark Ones, I get all the knowledge and experiences of every past Merlin. It's nice to meet you, Your Ma- Regina," Merlin says, correcting himself at the end when he gets a pointed look from the former Evil Queen.

"Wait, the current Dark One gets all the knowledge of past Dark Ones?" Regina asks.

Merlin nods his head, as does Rumple. "Yes, it's what makes each new one more powerful than the last and more difficult to reach and bring back from the darkness. It isn't impossible," Merlin clarifies at the worried expressions on Snow and David's faces. "But it'll be difficult."

"Um, Merlin, is it true what the other Merlin said about the three of us being able to rid Emma of the darkness?" Reagan asks, gesturing to her sister and mother.

"Yes, what he said is true, it'll just have to take the trust of Emma to make it work. She has to trust all three of you before it'll work," Merlin explains.

"Great, now we just need Emma to show up and meet Raina and Reagan and then they can geet started," Belle says enthusiastically.

"Not so fast. Dark Ones don't trust easily, so it'll probably take some time before she will trust them," Merlin warns.

"Great. Just great. When we think we've taken a couple steps forward in saving my daughter, we take a step or two back," Snow says, throwing her hands up in exasperation.

"Do not fret, Snow White. It will work," Merlin reassures Snow, but in doing so, he reassures everyone else, as well.

"So, all we have to do is find Ma, and get her to stay with us and get to know and trust my sisters?" Henry asks, looking for clarification.

"Exactly," Merlin agrees.

"Well then, what are we waiting for? Let's summon Ma!" Henry says enthusiastically.

"But, who should do it?" Belle asks.

"I would recommend someone she already trusts, and loves, someone she wouldn't hurt no matter what," Merlin says.

"So, me?" Henry inquires, to which Merlin nods his head.

"Will he be safe?" Regina asks, looking between her son and Merlin with a worried expression on her face.

"It's perfectly safe," Merlin reassures. "All you have to do is say the name that appeared on her dagger three times and she will appear either in front of you, or somewhere in this room."

"Okay," Henry starts, then says, "Emma Swan. Emma Swan. Emma Swan."

Thoughts? Good? Bad? Eh? Let me know! :)