A/N: Really, how did Uther or Arthur survive before Merlin got to Camelot? It's like every assassin waited for the warlock to get there, then "Okay, now we can get them!".
Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin or Doctor Who (not that it has to do with anything)
Merlin bit into the last of his rolls. It was a bit stale after the four days of travel, but it also meant he was getting close to the city of Camelot.
Even though Merlin was slightly anxious (considering his very existence was illegal there), he couldn't help but feel thrilled. The village of Ealdor was all he had ever known. The thought of actually seeing a city and its castle – particularly the king's castle – made him want to grin. All the stories his mother told him... and he was finally getting to see them for himself.
That roll really had been rather dry, Merlin thought, swallowing the last bite. The thought interrupted his pictures of grandeur.
But he was still in a good mood, so he tried whistling. After several notes (or hisses of air, if he was honest with himself) he decided against it. Whistling had never been a strong suit – plus his lips were dry and he didn't want to have to reach for his canteen. So he hummed instead. To anyone else, it would have sounded like tuneless nonsense, but it made sense to him.
It was a nice day. Actually, they had all been nice days. Hunith had worried that it would rain on him, and to be honest, he hadn't been fond of the idea himself. But the weather had decided to be nice to him, for which he was extremely grateful.
In the middle of of his musings and scattered tunes, the pad of horse shoes broke the silence.
Merlin stopped humming, and warily listened to the sound. He wondered if he should hide in the woods. While it probably wasn't a bandit – unless bandits in Camelot usually rode horses through the main roads – it didn't mean whoever it was would be friendly.
The person and their shaggy mare came into view.
Merlin sighed in relief. It was only a peasant woman. She looked half-asleep, and she kept having to tug at the horse's reigns to get her to move. She wasn't riding – not that there would have been much room. It looked as though all her possessions were strapped to its back, including a wicker chair.
As she and her horse approached, Merlin gave her a friendly nod and a smile. Only then did she meet his eyes, causing Merlin to shy away slightly. Her irises were too pale. She didn't look completely sane.
To his discomfort, she addressed him.
"You!" she even pointed her finger as she said it.
Merlin looked behind him. No one was there. "Me?" he asked doubtfully.
"Who else!" she half-shouted. "Took you long enough. I haven't had a vacation in twenty years!"
"Um... sorry?" Merlin wondered if he should start running. At least she didn't look particularly dangerous.
"Just hope another assassin doesn't try to take Uther out while neither of us are there – that would be bad. He's completely helpless, you know," she said, looking distant. Now Merlin knew she was insane, wasn't Uther the king?
"Uh-huh," Merlin said, backing away. "Look... I'm kind of in a hurry."
"I know! Arthur is a complete dollop-head!" the woman exclaimed. "I hope you can knock some sense into him before he's king."
"Are we even having the same conversation?" Merlin asked.
"And you'll want to watch out for the stupid dragon as well," the woman continued.
"Anything else?" Merlin asked, trying not to sound sarcastic.
The woman looked him up and down. It was kind of creepy, having her examine him like that. Finally she said, "Nice neckerchief."
Merlin looked down at the red piece of fabric hanging from his neck. "Thanks," he replied uncertainly.
"I'd knit you another one - for luck and all - but you did say you were in a hurry," the woman said with a sigh.
"Yes. Yes I did... I mean, I am," Merlin said, grateful she'd given him an excuse to not sit around all day while she knit him a new neckerchief. She probably would too, if he let her. "Good day, then," he finished with a wave, and he turned to face the direction he was supposed to be walking in.
"It's supposed to rain," the woman said, sounding concerned. Oh dear.
"I'll be fine. Now, good bye," Merlin said more firmly, and kept his gaze focused ahead of him as he marched forwards. What if she followed him? That was a worrying thought.
Luckily when he heard the clopping noise of her horse, it was traveling in the opposite direction.
He sighed in relief.
"Good luck!" she shouted back at him. He winced. "Don't bother looking for me! I'll be in Greece! Or China! Who knows? Maybe I'll go to the Caribbean!"
Merlin pinched his lips together. Maybe she had been banished. It would make sense to him.
As the sound of hoof-beats faded, Merlin allowed himself to relax. If everyone in Camelot was that interesting, he was assured not to get bored. Then he grinned. At least one good thing had come out of her conversation.
'Dollop-head' was a pretty creative insult.