The Trouble with Talking Chickens
Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin.
A/N: This story is in response to a challenge from EosAella to write a magic reveal for Merlin without using a variety of words. I'm not sure I succeeded in the 'reveal' part of the challenge, but I found it amusing. Hopefully you will too. Fair warning, don't take this too seriously.
Merlin and Arthur were sleeping next to a fire. It had been a long day of hunting, but they were too far from the citadel to return home for the night and so were simply camping where they stopped.
Merlin had been being plagued with strange dreams for weeks. As if he didn't have enough to worry about, he was now having dreams about chickens chasing him in his sleep and for some reason they all sounded like Arthur's knights. Definitely strange.
Arthur, on the other hand was having difficulty getting to sleep at all what with Merlin's constant shifting and mumbling. Giving it up for naught, the blond-haired young man sat up and contemplated his companion over the fire. There was definitely something bothering the black-haired young man. That much was obvious.
Shifting closer to see if he could tell what the mumbles actually were, the tone and volume suddenly changed. As he watched his manservant's eyes open slightly with a flash, he watched in disbelief as four chickens suddenly appeared in the middle of the campsite. In response to this event, he most definitely did not scream a girly scream which woke Merlin up. Merlin woke of his own accord.
Merlin cast a bleary-eyed look around the campsite and immediately saw the chickens. With a groan, he looked at them pointedly and asked, "Why don't you just go away and leave me alone?"
The chicken who had the voice of Gwaine said, "Merlin, my friend, you would miss us if we left."
"No, no, I really don't think I would," Merlin replied with, rubbing his temples. "In fact, I might actually get some sleep if you did."
The chicken scoffed, "Sleep is overrated."
"Merlin," Arthur started in a bit of a daze from the other side of the fire.
Merlin looked up at the sound in shock. He had never had an Arthur chicken before. When he located where the sound was coming from, he became even more confused. Why wasn't Arthur a chicken?
As Merlin was looking at him quizzically, he lost patience, "Merlin! Why are there talking chickens in our campsite?" he demanded. "And why does one of them sound like Gwaine?"
Merlin shrugged his shoulders. "Don't worry about it, they're not really here. I've been dreaming about them for a while now. Eventually they should get bored and go away."
"That would not be a good idea, Merlin," said the Leon chicken. "You need someone to guard the camp."
The Percival chicken was already looking around the trees suspiciously. "I will take first watch," he said, resolutely marching off into the darkness.
"I'll join him," said the Elyan chicken going in the other direction.
"And just what is a chicken supposed to do about possible bandits?" Arthur asked incredulously.
"We just want you to be safe, sire," replied the Leon chicken.
"Come on, Leon, we better take the other two sides, let the princess get his beauty sleep," intoned the Gwaine chicken before they both left the clearing as well, leaving Arthur and Merlin alone once more.
With a shrug of the shoulders, Merlin lay back down and tried to get comfortable.
"Merlin. Mer-lin. MERLIN!"
Finally Merlin shot back up. "What is it, you sanctimonious PRAT!"
"You forget who you're talking to," Arthur said scathingly.
"You forget it's the middle of the night," Merlin stated back with just as much venom.
"You're not sleeping until you tell me where those chickens came from!"
"The ones that you were just talking to!"
Merlin looked at him in confusion. "I think you might have been dreaming, sire."
"No, no, I was not dreaming. There were four chickens, they sounded like Leon, Elyan, Percival and Gwaine and YOU were TALKING to them!"
Merlin's face paled, "That was real?"
"Of course it was real! What did you think it was?"
"Part of my dream," he mumbled.
"What?" Arthur demanded.
"I said I thought it was part of my dream, ok? I've been dreaming about talking chickens for weeks now."
Arthur started laughing. "You've been dreaming of talking chickens?"
"It's not that funny."
"Yes, it is. It really is." Arthur took a deep breath and tried to calm down. "But that still doesn't explain how the chickens are here now."
"Ah, yeah, about that…" Merlin tried to think of some explanation for the sudden appearance of the obviously enchanted birds. "They, um, wandered in from somewhere."
"No they didn't, Merlin. There was nothing one moment and then 'poof' talking chickens."
"Is that so?"
"Yes. And, seeing as you've been dreaming about talking chickens, I'm thinking you're responsible."
"Now that's just crazy talk."
"No, it's not. I saw your eyes flash. When were you planning on telling me you could do that?" Arthur asked with anger.
"I-I was going to get around to it eventually. I just hadn't found the time."
"And how long have you been able to make talking chickens appear from nowhere?"
"Um, it's not just talking chickens, sire."
"Is that so?"
"Yes?" Merlin said with a hopeful smile.
Arthur glared at him until Merlin dropped the hopeful smile and looked contrite instead. "Are you going to kill me?" Merlin asked dejectedly.
"What? No! Of course not! Why would I do that?"
"I can make talking chickens appear, sire."
"That's, um, kind of against the law."
"What are you on about, Merlin? There's no law about talking chickens."
"But—but—Arthur, the only way to make talking chickens appear is—" Merlin stopped and looked at his friend cautiously.
"Yes, Merlin? What is the only way to make chickens appear?" Arthur asked, looking oddly intense as he did so. It was almost as if he was daring him to say it.
Merlin immediately backtracked, "Ah, no idea, sire. They just happen to appear randomly."
Arthur flashed him a blinding grin. "Right, so, sleep?"
Merlin blinked confusedly at the grin and gave a tentative smile back. "Yeah, sleep." Lying back down, he shook his head to himself and mused that that was definitely one of the weirder conversations he had ever had with his friend.
As Arthur watched Merlin go back to sleep, he sighed in relief. He had been afraid Merlin was going to say something stupid and possibly life-threatening for a minute there. Thankfully, he had been mistaken. Turning back onto his side, he fell asleep to the soft clucking of the knight-chickens guarding the perimeter.
Well, hopefully that bit of strangeness at least made you laugh a little. It made me laugh so I suppose that's something.
I doubt this is what you had in mind, EosAella, but it's what came to me when I was inspired by your challenge. *shrug* I hope you found it at least mildly amusing.