A knight and a servant had stumbled across the army encampment not too far from Camelot's borders. They'd managed to sneak away undetected, or so they had thought. An outlying patrol had spotted them, sending a distress signal to the main camp.
The four men descended on the knight and servant, certain about their capture. They hadn't expected for the knight to have such honed instincts to kill the first fighter within moments. They also hadn't expected for the servant to pick up the dead man's sword and join the warrior in defending themselves.
The last man was wary of the fighting skills of the two opponents that had defeated the other three in his party. Yet, as he made the move to swing his sword at the knight's unprotected neck, there was still one last vital piece of information that he didn't know.
At the sight of his comrade about to be killed, the servant dropped his sword. From any other man, this would seem like a foolish thing to do, to give up their one chance of protection. As if frozen in time, the attacker felt a cold chill of premonition. Watching as the servant raised his hand with his palm facing him, he realised he was seeing the last image of his life as the man's eyes changed colour.
Filled with disbelief, Arthur turned round to meet the eyes of his friend who watched him carefully.
"Tell me I'm wrong," Arthur said, tightly. Merlin shook his head. Arthur exhaled and clenched his fist, standing still for a moment. He screamed in anger, turning away.
"I could kill you for this, Merlin!" he shouted angrily. Refusing to process those words, Merlin spun around at the noise of someone nearby. Before he could think about warning Arthur, a group of five men emerged from the trees, the quickest of the soldiers to react to the patrol's distress. Soon, the two were both absorbed in their fights, Merlin managing to hold his ground against two of them. However, Arthur's wounded shoulder soon had him moving too sluggishly to fight off his remaining two people at once. As he finished the killing blow for one, the other darted forward, denying him the chance of recovery.
"Surrender or I kill him!" the man behind Arthur warned Merlin. Arthur bristled in anger as he felt the knife at his throat. The fighting stopped, the remaining three men surrounding Merlin with triumph in their eyes.
"Kill him, I don't care," Merlin drawled, barely glancing at his endangered comrade.
"Merlin!" Arthur protested.
"What? You'll kill me if I save you, but kill me afterwards anyway? Prat," he muttered. The two attackers looked at each other in confusion. While they attempted to make sense of the situation, Merlin got to work.
"Forbearnan firgenholt!" A branch fell on to one, barely grazing another. With a flick of his hands, he sent the other one hurtling back into a tree, unconscious. He turned to the man holding Arthur.
"Ahatian!" The man screamed as the hilt of his dagger burned into his hand. Merlin left Arthur to deal with him, instead grabbing the last man as he struggled from under the fallen branch and forced him against a tree, wrenching his sword away with a flash of his eyes.
"How many more of you are there?" he demanded. The man smirked at him and let out a long laugh.
"Answer me!" Merlin said fiercely, shoving him against the tree.
"Turn around and see for yourself," he sneered. Merlin froze. There were no birds. He listened and sure enough, the crunch of leaves underfoot reached his ears. The man continued laughing. Shaking his head in disgust Merlin drew back his fist and crashed it into the side of the man's head, knocking him unconscious. He stepped away and held his hands up, finally gazing around at the fifty men that surrounded them.
"Merlin," Arthur began, frowning. Merlin narrowed his eyes, forcing Arthur to ask. He sighed irritably.
"Can't you get us out of this?"
Merlin tugged slightly at the chains holding him to the wall. Of course he could. Easy. It was one of the first spells he'd ever learnt. He tilted his head to the side, pretending to ponder this dilemna.
"Why should I?"
Arthur spluttered indignantly. "You don't have a choice! I demand you unlock these chains!"
He watched Arthur turn red, amused.
"I like it here," he said, looking around and ignoring Arthur's protests. "No dirt, no draughts, no rats and it's bigger than your cells. And look!" he exclaimed, his face lit up with glee. "A bucket! More civilised too," he added with a smirk.
"Why are you comparing dungeons?" Arthur demanded.
"It's where I'd be going isn't it? If I get you out of here, there's nothing stopping you from arresting me and putting me in a smelly, draughty, tiny hole in the ground you call a cell." Merlin stared Arthur down, no hint of jocularity in his face. Arthur considered denying it, then realised there was no point, Merlin would see right through him as he always did.
"Alright, fine. You have my word that….if…. you can get us out of here…I won't have you arrested," Arthur said haltingly. Merlin raised his eyebrow, waiting. "Or banished," Arthur added. Merlin hummed slightly looking up in the air, still waiting. "Or executed! Happy now?"
"Yep!" Merlin said brightly. With that he stood up, shrugging off the chains he'd unlocked almost as soon as they entered. He sauntered over to Arthur who looked at him, surprised.
"Aliese," he muttered. Without further ado, Merlin picked up the bucket and strode to the door and banged on it, violently.
"Oi!" Merlin shouted.
"What are you doing?" whispered Arthur, alarmed.
"Tospringe," he whispered, ignoring Arthur and pressing his ear against the door. Once the sound of running footsteps got closer he wrenched the door open to a startled guard.
"Hello!" Merlin said brightly. He swung the bucket at the man's head, knocking him unconscious with a metallic clang. The other guard, alerted came running down the corridor, drawing his sword as he went.
Merlin threw the bucket at his feet, causing the man to trip over and in an action that Arthur had thought only Merlin could accomplish, the guard knocked himself out. Merlin smirked. Arthur gaped at him.
"How many times have you done this?"