The car pulled up on the side of the road. Arthur sighed- it was the final house and the last hope he had of finding Miss Mystery.
The door opened and he muttered a thanks to Peter, who just nodded back mutely.
"Who have we got this time?"
"A Miss Catrina Tregor with daughters Vivian and Morgause, who are fraternal twins. They also have a step-sister living at the residence, even though she did not attend the ball."
"She said she had a step-family," Arthur commented lightly as they headed towards the door. Before he could even raise a hand to knock on it, it opened.
Catrina had gone for blood-red lipstick which matched the weirdly tight dress she wore. Her stilettos were eye-wateringly high and her hair was pulled into a very tight bun, which gave the impression that her head was being stretched. It was obvious what she was trying to do.
"Your highness," she took his hand as she curtsied (which was a struggle for her), "What an honour to have you in our home."
"Yeah, nice to meet you and all." He had become bored and disillusioned after around five to seven visits.
"Come on in," she smiled so brightly that it could rival the sun, "My girls have been waiting."
He stepped inside, with Peter stroking the Sig behind him.
Not even bothering to take off his shoes, he followed her into the inviting sitting room. Upon his arrival, Vivian and Morgause immediately shot up.
The former was wearing a pink and white summer dress with a plait going down the middle of her long blonde hair, which had been straightened. Her lips were a sugary pink and her eyelashes were adorned with clear mascara.
The latter wore a dark purple body con dress with her hair naturally curly. She had again gone for the smoky eyes look with chocolate lipstick.
"Vivian, Morgause. Hi, great to see you again," Arthur raised a hand.
"My lord," they both spoke simultaneously, plastering the fakest smiles on their faces.
Trying not to laugh, he settled himself on the comfy sofa.
"Would you like a drink?"
"Yes please," Arthur thought it couldn't hurt, "A tea with two sugars and milk please."
Catrina nodded and turned towards the direction of the kitchen.
"THE USUAL DRINKS PLUS A TEA WITH TWO SUGARS AND MILK!" she yelled, "STEP ON IT!"
Arthur flinched as he heard the distant sound of a kettle being used. Forcing a smile through her disdain for her 'servant,' Catrina turned back to him.
"So what do owe the pleasure, your highness?" she asked, "I was telephoned to be informed that you would be visiting here."
"At the ball, I met a young woman who intrigued me, known only by the name 'Miss Mystery.' On the final night, she was forced to flee and left behind a locket. She and I are the only living people left that know how to open it. I have gone to each home to find this lady."
He held the item up.
Catrina eyed it eagerly.
"My beloved locket," Vivian attempted to snatch it out of his hands, "Oh, my lord, thank you so much for finding it. I am much obliged, what can I do to repay you?"
"We need to test if you can open it before you can claim it as yours," Arthur replied rudely. She missed the hostile tone.
Seconds later and the door opened, to reveal Gwen struggling with the tea tray. She was ignored by her family as she placed it on the coffee table, before hovering near the sofa.
"Is there anything else?" she asked nervously, avoiding eye contact with Arthur and her locket.
"Yes," Catrina snapped, "I want you to clean my room."
Gwen nodded before stealing a look at the prince. He smiled at her. It was not a polite smile; it was more warm and friendly. She nodded in recognition before scuttling from the room- it was obvious she had been told before-hand about what was happening.
"Did she attend the ball?"
He needed to double-check.
"No," Catrina lied, "She wanted to stay home and study. A bit of a geeky bookworm, you see."
Arthur bit back a harsh reply as he handed the locket to Morgause, "Proceed."
The blonde grinned as she tried to pull the rose straight off the locket. Annoyed at when it did not open, she grabbed the edges and started pulling, making a face and noise like a constipated cat.
"Okay, okay," Arthur could tell that she was going to break it if she were to continue, "Thanks. Why don't you pass it over to your sister, hm?"
Vivian smirked as she was handed the locket, knowing that she could open it.
She pressed the rose, expecting the piece to pop open on will. When it did not, she tried several more times. Angrily, she pushed it as if it were a stuck elevator button.
"Alright," Arthur took it out of her hands, "I think that's enough."
"But if I try a little more I know I can get it," Vivian begged, "It gets rusty."
Before anything else was said, a knock came upon the door.
"WHAT?" Catrina yelled.
Gwen pushed it open, clutching a can of spray, "Mistress, the dusting spray has run out. Would you like me to go out to get some more?"
The older woman nodded, "Of course, you stupid girl."
The prince was appalled- he would never treat his servants in such a manner. She was forced to knock on the door of her own house, clean the rooms, make the tea without a thank-you and be generally pushed around in a horrible way.
"Try the locket," he spoke without thinking.
She looked at him- mortified.
"I was not at the ball," she shook her head, "So there is no need, my lord."
"I insist," he tried to speak as kindly as possible.
"There will be no need," Catrina replied in a panicky voice, even though she was unaware that Gwen actually owned the item of jewellery.
Arthur glared at her as Gwen scooted forward and took the locket in her hands. Taking a deep breath, she pulled the rose upwards and then to the left, letting it jump open. The prince looked at her as though his heart had been healed up with superglue as he pounced upwards.
"I knew it," he whispered, "Miss Mystery."
"It's Guinevere actually, but everyone calls me Gwen," she placed a loose strand of hair behind her ear.
Arthur kissed her. Wrapping her in his arms, their lips met in a passionate encounter. Finally breaking apart for oxygen reasons, he held her close.
"This is absurd," Catrina stood up, "You didn't even attend the ball."
"Actually, I did," Gwen replied with confidence, "I snuck out, you see."
Her step-mother gasped and attempted to lunge at her, only to be held back by Peter.
"You will not touch her," he told her in a firm, angry voice.
"Guinevere, pack a small bag and we're leaving for the palace," Arthur smiled, "We can come back for the rest of your stuff later."
"You mean it?" she had tears in her eyes.
"I do," he nodded, "You are the only woman I've ever truly wanted."
Beaming, she slipped her hand into his and led him down to her tiny basement bedroom.
"You slept here? It's tiny and pretty mangy."
"It's an improvement from the attic, trust me," Gwen replied grimly as she placed a few clothes and her phone into a New Look bag.
After several minutes, she was done and the pair left the quaint room.
Once they reached the door, Arthur suddenly picked his new girlfriend up bridal style, flinging her stuff over to Peter who caught it happily.
"What are you doing?"
"You told me that you wanted to be a princess when you were younger," he replied, "So here's your chance."
The door swung open to reveal a single white horse, which looked like a unicorn without a horn. He walked her over to the beautiful creature, placing her on it neatly before mounting it himself.
"Ready?" he asked her.
"Of course," she smiled as he hit the reins.
-Once Upon a Fairytale-
Arthur did introduce Gwen to Uther and Morgana, who immediately loved her.
A couple of years after the pair left university, Arthur proposed marriage to his beloved, who immediately accepted. It was a true royal wedding- around two billion people around the world tuned in to watch the big day. Gwen wore a Vivienne Westwood gown with Elena and Freya as joint Maid-of-Honour.
She and Arthur set up a successful publishing company as well as a charity which funded medical journeys to other countries for ill children.
At the ages of twenty-six and twenty-eight, they had children: a boy named Thomas Uther and a girl named Eliza Ygraine. They had a very happy childhood.
Leon and Morgana wed, and then bore twin boys named James and Andrew. Elena and Percival married, with a girl named Ailsa whilst Merlin and Freya became husband and wife, having three children: triplets named Kate, Louise and Jane.
Catrina, Vivian and Morgause got their just deserves. The house was sold (it turned out it belong to Gwen) and they were forced to work in the palace kitchens. It was safe to say they didn't enjoy the rest of their terrible lives and they did not once lose their twisted behavior.
But the best thing was that Arthur and Gwen had their happily ever after.
Once Upon a Fairytale.
So it's finished. Sad face- I loved writing this. It was really fluffy and sweet- I don't like sad stories.
Thank you for everyone who reviewed, alerted and/or favourited- you guys are the best.
Thanks again and until my next Merlin story:
Semper Fi xxx