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She sifted through the grey bowl of porridge, not entirely attentive to the king's speech. He was going on about another tournament, which was all too common in Camelot to interest her anymore. It was the same every time. Knights would come from all over Albion, there would be fighting, someone would get close to death, and Arthur would win. The last thing he needs is another reason to be so haughty. Her eyes glanced up from the silver dish to the young prince in front of her, hungrily eating a loaf of bread. He smiled cockily at his father, knowing that tomorrow's event would just be another victory.
"How many knights are participating in the tournament tomorrow?"
King Uther smiled confidently at his son before taking a sip from his goblet, "Twelve total. You should get to bed early tonight in preparation. They have been training hard."
"I'm sure they'll be no challenge for me," Arthur said offhandedly. His blue eyes glanced back down to the silver plate for a brief second, "Is there a… new prize this time?"
There was an uncomfortable feeling swirling around in her stomach at Arthur's words. She fidgeted in her seat, forcibly stirring her breakfast as a distraction. But her thoughts still dwindled. Why? Does he want a new prize? She shook her head speedily. What am I thinking? He's a pretentious prat. Her ears perked up nevertheless, attention straying from the now cold mush to the older man on her left. Uther gave her a soft look and then turned back to his son, "I can think of no greater prize then taking the Lady Morgana to the ball. It appears to be very popular with the knights."
Arthur huffed, "If you're sure. But it seems a little unfair, doesn't it Morgana?" He crossed his arms over his bright red tunic and focused his gaze on her, "I mean how are you supposed to ever find a suitor if I'm the only one who takes you to these balls?"
Her grip from her spoon loosened, dropping the metal utensil with a loud clang. "I am perfectly capable of finding a suitor, Arthur. It's just a misfortune I have you as my escort every time."
"A misfortune?" The young prince laughed and leaned back in the tall wooden chair, "Most ladies would not hold the same opinion as you."
Morgana shrugged, "Those girls obviously don't know you at all then."She flashed him a coy smile, "But I'm sure someday you'll grow out of your narcissism."
His light expression quickly diminished to annoyance. Arthur sat straight up, fists clenched at his side, "Well at least I won't grow up to be a withered, lonely..."
Those words hit her hard, biting fiercely into her for an unknown reason. She stood up from her chair, that feeling transforming into sudden anger. "Excuse me." Morgana turned from the dark wooden dining table and swiftly walked into the castle's bright hallway, her usual light footsteps becoming loud with annoyance. The early sun's light shimmered through the panes of glass behind her as she made her way back to her bedroom, needing to escape. Her breath was starting to become even again when she heard a loud voice behind her.
She turned sharply at the familiar voice, not too eager to face him right now. "What?"
"You seem…disturbed." Arthur walked closer to her. His face showed no sign of concern, just curiosity. Arthur's footsteps echoed calmly on the hard surface as he made his way closer to her.
"I assure you, I'm fine." But she couldn't hide the disdain her voice. She gave Arthur a slight nod and turned back around, grabbing the edge of her deep blue dress to hasten her movements.
"No, you're not." He grabbed her arm forcefully and pulled her back around. "Might as well get on with it and tell me before I find out from Merlin or Gwen. Why are you so quick to run away?"
Morgana strongly tore herself away from his grip, "You make me sound like an old hag!"
"A hag? Now what did I say to give you that impression?" His expression only read amused.
"I can't find a suitor!? I'll be withered and alone?"
Arthur simply shrugged, "You have yet to prove me wrong, Morgana." His leather boots turned back around, "Now if that's the only reason you seem all huffy…"
"Huffy? I'm huffy? Well, I suppose it's better than being haughty."
"I'm haughty? Absolutely not!"
"This is from the prince who doesn't have the slightest worry about losing?"
"Also yet to be proven wrong. Maybe I should just do you a favor and lose tomorrow's tournament for you?"
That was it. Her chest was heaving with irritation, stormy eyes piercing at the prince, "Don't do me any favors. What a blow that would be to your ego! I don't know if you could bear it." Her voice tinged with sarcasm.
"No, no the pleasure will be all mine. That way you can have your knight to protect you."
She was practically fuming. Heat radiated off her anger, thickening the air. Morgana bit the edge of her lip, "I do not need anyone to protect me, Arthur."
He waved her off and started to head back towards the dining room, considerably unconcerned at her apparent rage, "If you say so…" His gloved hand touched the doorknob, but he quickly turned back around, the light suddenly reflecting from his blond hair. She felt that swirl in her stomach heighten when he turned back around. He paused for a second, scratching his head and glancing from the floor to her face. "Look, Morgana…"
"What?" She regretted the sharpness in her voice, seeing the teasing look in his eyes vanish.
"I…just…" Arthur shook his head, his smirk returning, "I'm sure you'll be happy…even if it is when you're a withered old hag."
The heavy wooden door slammed behind the prince before she could even think of a retort.
"He's a complete ass!" She picked up the fluffy, silk pillow on the bed, only to throw it back to the ground in annoyance. "How can someone so insolent, so inconsiderate ever be king?" Morgana breathed out harshly, a sad attempt to release some anger. She stomped over to the side chair and plopped down, dark hair falling wildly around her shoulders. "Must he always be so…so…"
"I think it's just in his nature." Gwen fumbled for the pillow on the floor and placed it back neatly on Morgana's bed. Her hand lightly tapped Morgana's shoulder, trying to comfort her, "He has always been that way, but I do not see why you are worrying so much about it now." There was a slight gleam in her eye. "What did he say to you exactly?"
"That I won't ever be able to find a suitor. The nerve of him to say something…"
She quickly became confused as she turned to face Gwen. There was no sympathy or even pity on her face. Why is she smiling? The bright hint in her eye seemed to only spread, her mouth turning into a wide grin, "What? Why do you seem so happy?"
Gwen laughed, "Nothing…just ignore me. But maybe if you two just talked…"
"Talked?" Morgana smirked at that, "I can't talk to him! Not until he learns some humility."
There was a soft knock on the door, making Gwen abandon the conversation. The servant opened it happily to reveal a young man with dark brown hair standing on the other side. "Hello, Merlin!"
"Hello, Gwen…Lady Morgana." The boy blinked, confused at Morgana's disgruntled state and Gwen's uneasiness. "…Is something wrong?"
"Nothing unusual." Gwen smiled and gestured for him to walk in and sit down.
Morgana sighed, "Arthur's a prat."
"Well that certainly isn't unusual." Merlin gave Morgana a humorous smile, but to no avail. Her normally pale face was flushed with anger, and she twisted her dark curls in complete annoyance. "Is…there anyway I can help?"
The lady sighed, "I doubt it. Unless you could help one of those twelve knights defeat Arthur tomorrow."
"Twelve?" Merlin suddenly dug through his coat pocket, pulling out a long piece of thick, yellow paper. "…Only 11 now actually. I just received a letter for the king that Marhaus of Cornwall is unable to attend tomorrow."
He is? Morgana couldn't help but smile, "Does the king know of this?"
Merlin shook his head, "Nope. I was just going to tell him now, but I just wanted to stop by and…"
"I think it would be better if you didn't tell him." Morgana had a complete grin now, mood swiftly changing from anger to pure excitement.
Gwen looked crossly at her, noticing her sudden smile, "Do you intend to find someone to replace him?"
"Yes, someone who can beat him." She was walking to her armoire now, rummaging through her gowns and corsets, blue eyes scanning for a particular item.
Merlin blinked at her behavior, "Who? Who can beat Arthur at a fighting tournament?"
Morgana spun around cheerfully, flourishing the piece of clothing in the air like a new trophy. The two servant's eyebrows rose. It was a wrinkled, light grey men's tunic. "Me."
Hey guys! I'll get started on the next part tonight, but reviews would be a great motivator :D
'Til next time!
-Honey and Cheerios