"Merlin?" Marinette asked as he approached her in the garden. It was nighttime, and the others were fast asleep. All except for them.
"You're worried," Merlin said. "I can see it on your face."
"When I lost my Miraculous, I didn't just lose my power as a superhero. I lost my friend, Tiki."
"Then you're no different than the other servants."
"What about you? Weren't you friends with them too?"
"No, the only ones I know are Fujimaru and Mash."
"Then, why are you fighting?"
"For the same reason you are." Merlin turned to look at Marinette directly. "To protect my friends. Isn't that what you want to do?"
"It's true..." Marinette then paused. "But...I don't know if I have the power to."
"It's not about power, it's about supporting the people we care about. Next time you see the others, look in their eyes, really see what they're feeling. They've lost something precious to them. And like you, they miss it, they want it back. The question remains: what will they do to get it back? And what will they do if they lose it forever? You should get to sleep; you'll be too tired for tomorrow if you don't."
Marinette headed back inside while Merlin remained in the garden. He smiled then picked a few flowers, he was jealous of Marinette, she was someone who immediately wanted to help people when she had the chance. Even someone who she didn't know, like Arjuna, she offered to help. Merlin sat on the bench and reached out his hand, pink sparkles gathered around him. The dreams of the people and emotions they felt, those were the things he found most intriguing about humans and those who were human once.
He entered the mansion and picked up Fou on his way. The mansion was quiet at night, it reminded him of the times he had with Ana in Babylonia. The times the two would talk at night and watch over Fujimaru and Mash. The time was different, and so were the two he knew from before. Fujimaru and Mash had grown up since then, and the world had changed to become less forgiving. Even when the Goddesses were their enemy, there wasn't so much pressure in the air. Perhaps it was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon that soared the skies, or the servants whose hearts were yearning for a better future. The versions of the servants that existed in that time were much different than the ones he knew, their journey in India had changed them. Merlin smiled to himself as he laid down on a pile of blankets with Fou on his stomach. It was only the beginning.
The morning came quickly, and Charlemagne was done building the aircraft Arjuna requested. He was sound asleep on the couch as Arjuna got ready for the descent and Arthur, Artoria and Tamamo shuffled through their supplies to see what they needed to take with them. Alya and Nino were busy lecturing on why Marinette and Adrien shouldn't go, while Nathalie and Gabriel talked to the other servants about the plan. Da Vinci was sure things would be fine, but Fujimaru had his doubts, Solomon was powerful, like Merlin, he was a Grand Caster. Despite that similarity, Merlin didn't like to fight with his magic, he preferred a sword instead, putting him at a disadvantage.
Arjuna then got their attention, they were ready to take off. The airship was small, it was like a small plane, except for how it looked. The bottom was made of stone and in a circular shape with a blue core in the middle, the walls were more like stone fences than a wall with red roses surrounding each pillar. Arjuna stepped inside and a control panel appeared before him. Artoria, Arthur and Tamamo were the next ones to board. Tamamo jumped onto the top of the fence to sit on while the Sabers leaned on it to talk. Fujimaru and Mash got on with a little trouble getting Mash's shield through the fence, she turned it horizontally and pulled, then when it was through, her and Fujimaru were slammed against the other side.
Adrien looked to Marinette and bowed while gesturing to the airship. Marinette made a heavy sigh then headed in, that was such a Chat Noir thing of him to do. Adrien boarded and looked back to wave at his father, his father had a concerned expression on his face. Gabriel didn't approve of his son going on a dangerous mission, but knew it wasn't his place to tell Adrien what to do anymore. Adrien was old enough to make his own decisions, and he had Tamamo with him, who promised to protect him.
Arjuna was careful to keep the ship out of the castle's defenses as Tamamo shot down any that would have caused trouble for them. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, a large castle built from marble and stone with pillars covered in plant life. It was a building that could only be described as "perfect." Arjuna landed the airship in the garden of the castle and Mash set her shield down for Da Vinci to scan the area.
"What's the plan?" Mash looked to the masters.
"Artoria, Arthur, attack from the right. Mash, Fujimaru, from the left. Adrien, Tamamo and I will take the enemy straight on." Marinette said only to get silence and blank stares.
"You got it Master!" Arthur said with a thumbs up.
"Yeah no," Tamamo said. "That's not how this works."
"Sorry Marinette, Fujimaru's our Master." Artoria apologized, "we listen to him."
"It's a good idea, we can do it." Fujimaru tried to salvage the situation.
"Get over yourselves," Arjuna sighed. "I'm going ahead while you figure it out."