I am SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO sorry for the delay! I recentl;y got a job and well it's been keeping me busy. I worked 8 days straight ugg. ANyways here is the next chapter. Hopefully when winter break comes I'll have plenty of time to write :)

Merlin was in Gaius's chambers when Gwaine woke up the next day and stumbled down the stairs into the main room.

"'Morning!" Merlin greeted brightly.

"Why am I in the castle?" Gwaine asked, looking around in confusion.

"You saved the prince so-" Merlin began.

"I saved the prince?" Gwaine asked, looking almost angry at the thought.

"Do you dislike the nobility?" Merlin asked, slightly concerned.

"No… my father was a knight," was all Gwaine would say.

"Why did you help us?"

"You looked like you wouldn't be able to win… I like those kinds of odds," Gwaine replied.

Merlin was about to say something else when someone knocked at the door, entering without waiting for a response.

Striding over to Merlin, Leon began, "The king wishes to speak to you."

Merlin groaned, realizing Uther must have found out about his outing. "If you need anything the servants will help you," Merlin informed Gwaine before turning and following Leon out.

Merlin tried to calm himself as Leon led him to the throne room.

"Is it true he saved Prince Arthur?" Leon asked, once they were out of Gaius's chambers.

"Yes," Merlin replied, not bothering to ask how Leon knew.

"I may not be a fan of his…drinking habits, but I can't fault him for saving the Prince," Leon commented.

"You've met him before?" Merlin asked, slightly surprised.

"I've run into him in some of Camelot's taverns…" Leon explained.

Merlin smirked slightly at Leon's exasperated tone and asked, "Does he usually get into trouble?"

"The question should be is he ever not in trouble," Leon grumbled as he pulled the door to the throne room open.

"Thank you," Merlin mumbled, stepping inside and trying to remain calm as the door slammed behind him.

Uther looked angry.

Merlin slowly approached the throne, silently wondering what he'd done to make Uther so furious.

"So… you and Arthur went to the lower town today and got into some… trouble," Uther began, glaring at Merlin.

Merlin sighed dejectedly, not seeing any reason to lie to his guardian.

"Yes, I-" Merlin began, trying to explain, but Uther cut him off.

"You do realize that you are no longer children and cannot run off whenever you feel like it. Arthur has responsibilities that he cannot attend to if he is gallivanting through the lower town with you!"

Merlin tried to not look too relieved when he realized Uther didn't know he'd gone alone. Merlin tried to look chastised. "I assure you it won't happen again."

Uther scoffed but didn't say anything else on the subject. "Just make sure that Gwaine fellow stays out of trouble," Uther sighed. "The knights participating in the melee will be arriving today and I don't want him giving them a bad impression of Camelot."

Merlin bowed deeply. "I'll keep an eye on him."

Uther sighed and dismissed Merlin, who tried to remain calm until he was outside the throne room. Once the door shut Merlin collapsed against the door, sighing in relief.

"What did he want?" Leon asked, grinning slightly.

"He just wanted to remind me Arthur was the prince and couldn't be goofing off. And he wants me to keep Gwaine out of trouble…"

"Too late for that," Arthur sighed, approaching the pair.

Merlin groaned and reluctantly asked, "What happened?"

"He's at the tavern buying everyone drinks with money he doesn't have," Arthur calmly informed Merlin.

"Where is he now?" he sighed.

"In Gaius's chambers, sobering up… for now," Arthur replied, glaring at Merlin.

"What…?" Merlin began, confused by Arthur's anger.

"He bought two dozen pickled eggs!" Arthur shouted, glaring at Merlin.

"How is that my fault?" Merlin demanded, frustrated with Arthur's prat-ish attitude.

"He wouldn't be my problem if you hadn't decided to run off!" Arthur snapped.

Merlin's anger melted instantly. "So you want me to be a prisoner?"

Arthur looked horrified as he hastily tried to explain, "No that's not what-"

"My lord, I'm so sorry I haven't checked on you today!" Evan exclaimed, running up to the pair.

"Don't worry, it-… Evan, are you ok?" Merlin finally got a good look at the servant and realized that he looked exhausted. Heavy bags sat beneath his eyes and his clothes were rumpled like he hadn't changed them in a while.

"Fine, my Lord… Sir Ethan and Sir Oswald came in last night and needed me to attend them… I… they've kept me busy…" Evan reluctantly explained.

"Sir Ethan and Oswald have been my friends for many years and are always kind to servants," Arthur snapped, glaring at Evan. "I do not believe they would torment a servant for the sake of it."

"He didn't say they were tormenting him!" Merlin argued, glaring back at Arthur.

Arthur huffed in annoyance, turning to Evan. "I was going to meet them in the training field. Why don't you come along and we can sort this out."

Evan weakly tried to protest but Arthur was already marching, not looking back to see Evan and Merlin following reluctantly.

Arthur's smirk faltered when he entered the training field and found Ethan and Oswald throwing daggers at an apple that was perched on top of a servants head.

Arthur frowned slightly as he walked over to them. "Why don't you use that energy for a little practice?" he asked, causing both to whirl around, startled.

Ethan smirked slightly and whipped out his sword, charging at Arthur. Still looking troubled, Arthur easily blocked the blow and they continued fighting. Ethan threw another wild swing at Arthur, who easily side-stepped it and knocked Ethan over, frowning.

"You've gotten sloppy…" Arthur muttered, walking off towards Merlin and Evan. He brushed past the pair and walked straight into the castle.

"Arthur?" Merlin asked, quickly following after the prince.

Arthur didn't say anything to them as he quickly wove through the crowds, making his way to his chambers. Merlin could tell something was really bothering him, but he couldn't figure out what.

"Arthur, what's going on?" Merlin asked.

Arthur looked back at Merlin, a troubled look on his face and explained, "Ethan is left handed…"

"So?" Merlin asked.

"If he's always been left handed, why did he fight me today with his right?" Arthur asked.

"Are you sure he was left handed?" Merlin asked uncertainly.

"I'm positive!" Arthur snapped, glaring at Merlin. "I think Evan was onto something."

"I never…" Evan began, paling slightly.

"Stop putting words in his mouth!" Merlin grumbled, glaring at Arthur.

"He was thinking it," Arthur grumbled.

"He is standing right next to us," Merlin retorted.

"It's fine…" Evan muttered, trying desperately to calm both men down.

"Just tell him he's a prat!"

"Uhh…" Evan mumbled, looking uncertainly between the pair.

"Look, we're getting way off track here," Arthur informed them, shaking his head. "How... what could possibly be going on?"

"Arthur, I agree that this is weird, but let's not jump to conclusions," Merlin said slowly.

"If I may?" Evan interjected. "I can look around their chambers, see if there's anything unusual going on?"

"It's… not preferable, but… that may be for the best…" Arthur muttered worriedly.

"What the prat is trying to say is be careful."

"Of course," Evan assured.