Sorry! I keep forgetting about this story. Here's the last part. Sorry in advance if it's rushed.
Arthur paused in the shadows when he heard the sound of scuffling. It wasn't too difficult to detect the sound of Gwaine's obnoxious voice. That's how he knew they'd been compromised. The knights had been a diversion anyways and they had done their job well. Arthur grabbed a torch while the guards were busy with the prisoners and darted into the tunnel. He hurried as quickly as he could without slipping on the slick rock. The tunnel twisted and turned, narrowing and widening erratically until it opened into a cavern as Gaius said it would.
Arthur did his best not to look fazed when the giant beast alit on a rock.
"Young Pendragon," the dragon rumbled. "I am surprised to see you here."
"I'm here to make a deal. If I free you, will you save my servant, Merlin from the dungeons?"
"Merlin? The young warlock?"
"The same," Arthur confirmed. "Will you do it?"
Kilgharrah cocked his head, considering. "I suppose I must, for what am I but a vessel of destiny?"
Arthur shifted, uncertain about the dragon's ramblings. "Gaius said this sword will do." He raised Excailbur.
"Yes, yes," the dragon said eagerly, sticking his shackled leg closer.
Arthur raised the sword, but hesitated. "You will keep to your word? You won't just fly away?"
"I am an honorable creature, young prince. And I have a duty to my kin."
Arthur tried to puzzle through the dragon's response but gave up. He lifted Excalibur again and struck down on the metal cuff. There was a mess of sparks and a loud clatter. And like that, the dragon was free.
Kilgharrah roared exultantly, soaring around the cave.
"Dragon!" Arthur shouted. "He is on the west side of the castle, second window from the left."
The beast gave the prince a shallow nod before ramming into the side of the cavern and flying out into the night sky.
Arthur turned and ran back up, hoping the dragon would distract the guards enough for him to reach the dungeons as well.
Merlin stirred from his light doze when he heard an incessant flapping. He wished it would just go away; his head was pounding enough as it was. But alas, it didn't. The flapping grew louder and louder and was accompanied by strange gusts of wind that whistled between the bars of the cells. A large shape blocked out the slatted moonlight that had been streaming in through the window.
Merlin sat up way too quickly as he tried to look outside for the source of the noise. "Ow!"
"Merlin?" Lancelot sounded concerned. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah. But what's that noise?"
Percival peeked outside. "Er. It appears to be a dragon."
The guards outside their cells jumped to alertness. Around the same time, the warning bell began to toll again.
The flapping was at its loudest yet and the wind had grown so much in strength that Merlin had to brace himself against the wall.
"Young warlock, protect yourself."
Merlin had just enough time to fling up a magical barrier over him and the knights. Kilgharrah wasted no time in ramming into the dungeon wall, sending rubble everywhere. There was yelling and roaring and the rumble of the building collapsing.
The knights clambered out of the ruins with no trouble. They were completely covered with dust but unscathed. Gwaine and Lancelot hurried to Merlin, supporting the sorcerer between the two of them.
Arthur joined them just as the knights and Merlin cleared the rubble. "Merlin!" He vaulted over the large chunks of prison laying on the ground.
Gwaine and Lancelot relinquished their hold on Merlin to the prince.
"Merlin. Listen to me." Arthur pressed his forehead to Merlin's. "It's not safe for you here. I want you to leave with the dragon, go somewhere far away. I will send for you when it's safe again."
Merlin frowned. "But I want to be with you."
"I do too," Arthur said sadly. "But you know my father won't allow that. He'll hunt you down and I might not be able to help you next time."
Merlin nodded slowly. "How long?"
"I don't know."
Merlin pressed his lips together. "Fine. I'll go."
Arthur looked surprised. "Really? Okay, good. So I guess this is good bye." He crashed his mouth to Merlin's one last time. "I love you."
"I love you too." Merlin hugged him tightly. "I'll see you soon."
Arthur squeezed him again and then stepped back quickly before he never let go. He looked at the knights who were all awkwardly trying to give them privacy by turning the other way. "The same goes for you. You're free to go if you so choose. I will not hold you to my service."
Gwaine and Lancelot immediately volunteered to accompany Merlin while Elyan and Percival made plans to travel around together until Arthur took the throne.
The prince clapped them on the back and wished them luck. "Now go before the guards show up."
Just as Arthur said that, soldiers came into view, torchlight reflecting off their swords and armor.
Elyan and Percival immediately made themselves scarce. Gwaine, Lancelot, and Merlin carefully clambered onto Kilgharrah's back, doing their best to avoid the sharp ridges on his back. Merlin looked down and smiled at Arthur. Then the dragon was bunching up his legs and leaping into the air while jolting the soldiers off their feet with the force of it. Flaming arrows were sent after the dragon, but they all fell completely short of the mark. The soldiers, recognizing a lost cause, surrounded Arthur instead. The prince gave in without a fight, eyes still gazing up at the sky where his heart had flew off into. He knew Merlin would return soon. Until then, Arthur would pass his time longing, hoping, waiting to be whole again.
Thanks for reading! Thoughts about the ending?