Thank you Bailieboro for the beta!
It was not that it was a difficult request from the Prince, he had asked the warlock for stranger things.
The past four years that he'd been in Arthur's service, he'd helped him rescue an evil druid child; covered for the prince when he'd sneaked out with Guinevere; accompanied him to a meeting with an evil sorceress and helped him track down the last Dragon Lord. Among many other things which made up the list modestly entitled, 'For The Prat'. A very long list, mind you!
However, he would sooner have expected Uther, to sprout dandelions from his ears and lift the ban on magic than this.
"Anytime, Merlin," the Prince repeated, steadying his sword in his hands, attempting to seem intimidating to the massive group of bandits charging their way.
The secret warlock shut his eyes, thinking that maybe when he opened them again, this would all be a dream. Arthur couldn't be asking him for that. 'How did he find out?' He must be dreaming. "Umm, Arthur…"
"Merlin, either you threaten them with sorcery, or I'll kill you myself!"
"B-but..." 'Oh gods Gaius was right!' He thought. 'He needed to be more careful!' "But it's illegal, Arthur!"
He expected the prince's eyes to pop straight out of his skull, with that. Temporarily ignoring the nearing hoard of bandits, Arthur turned around, hand on his hip, cursing, a faint 'idiot!' under his breath.
"Pretend!" the prince yelled at his manservant, "I am fully aware that you're too mentally challenged to be a real sorcerer but they don't know that! Scare them away!"
'Oh, well, phew! Of course, that made more sense!' he thought. Thanking his good luck, however ironic, the nervous warlock proceeded to pretend to be a warlock. The prince really couldn't have asked a better person to play the role.
Merlin coughed, summoning his best scary sorcerer's voice, and took a few steps toward the incoming bandits. "Stop! You lowly thieves or I will smite you with a…umm, thunderbolt!" the warlock, playing a warlock, commanded. Ignoring the ominous smack of a facepalm from Arthur behind him, he continued yelling. The bandits halting their progress but stayed alert.
Then a curious thing happened, the bandits erupted into fits of laughter.
Standing there, nursing his pride, a slightly baffled Merlin felt a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Good job, Merlin! You really are useless."
"B-but...!" 'Why was it so unbelievable that he had magic?' he thought.
"It's okay, Merlin. Now let me handle these fifty or so criminals," Arthur said, standing in front of the sulking manservant, sword ready for battle. "Just try not to trip on a pebble and we may survive this."
"I'm warning you!" Merlin attempted screaming again at the hysterical bandits. Throwing his arm out in a mock casting stance, he proceeded to yell a bogus spell ' Aegunilas!', praying to any god listening that the bandits fell for it.
Then, in an act only Merlin could affect, the warlock sensed his magic stir within him. Feeling his magic burn in the back of his irises, the ground opened up, swallowing the hoard of bandits in one massive gulp...
Both Prince and manservant stood there in silence. Not a word spoken! Nothing passed between them, no movement not even the twitching of an eye.
Both were in shock, but for completely different reasons. Till, one finally broke the silence.
The prince turned around gracefully, as only royalty can. Raising his sword steadily, he pointed it towards his friend's chest, his face unreadable.
The warlock gulped!
"I said pretend, you idiot! Pretend!"