Okay so I'm really really really sorry that I said I would be updating soon and it's over two weeks later, I'm not even going to dignify it with an excuse.
This chapter is quite short and not much happens but I just wanted to get it posted as soon as, sorryyyyyyy!
Also would like to say that this story won't be following any of the episodes from Merlin and with be my own plot, though i might do one or two of the episodes that i think my OC's may fit nicely into - but no promises. Anyway I'm going to stop rambling now and let you read this (terrible -_-) chapter.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything in the story, except for Alice & Lucy.
Chapter 5: New jobs.
"Merlin get up, you're late!" Merlin jolted out of his bed after Gaius started hammering on his door. He groaned loudly and climbed out of his cot, proceeding to get dressed in his usual clothing before then running out of his door and down the stairs leading to his bedroom."Oh yes because Arthur is such a joy to be around that I want to be with him as soon as possible." Merlin said sarcastically as he passed Gaius in his way out of the door, Gaius responded with a smirk and a shake of his head.
After the brief morning pleasantries Merlin rushed down the grand corridors, shrugged his tan jacket on, rounded a corner and pushed a door open sharply, strolled to the opposite side of the room and ripped the drapes open. Arthur groaned and held his hand up to the light shielding it from his eyes "Wakey wakey!" Merlin yelled cheerfully relishing in the annoyance that flashed across Arthur's face. "Do you mind Merlin, there are much nicer ways to wake me up, you know?" Arthur complained getting tired of the same awakening every morning, "I know but this way is just so much fun" he replied.
Arthur rolled his eyes in irritation and reached towards the end of his bed expecting to grasp an apple or some kind of meat, but instead found himself swatting at thin air, "Ermm Merlin, I think you've forgotten something" Merlin walked in front of Arthur's bed after just finished opening all of the curtains and said "No I don't think so." with a shake of his head and a slightly confused look spreading across his features. Arthur's expression turned to one of obvious disbelief as he gestured to the bed of his bed with his eyebrows raised, "Well perhaps breakfast." Merlin sighed in annoyance and began to leave the room to retrieve the forgotten food.
On his way to the kitchens he saw the peculiar girl who had fallen on him two days ago walking his way, Lucy I think her name was. "Excuse me...?" she asked hesitantly, it took a moment for Merlin to realise she was in fact talking to him, despite them standing in an empty corridor "Yes" he responded his eyes scanning over her attire, a floor length deep purple dress with long sleeves and a white apron kind of garment decorated with purple flowers and green leaves over the top, before returning to her face - he hadn't realised how long he had been staring for until he tuned back into what she was saying and he realised that he had missed everything she had said. "-sorry I'm rambling, it's just that they only told me his name not were his room was and now I'm afraid that I'm late." She finished in a small voice. "What was his name again?" Merlin said hoping she wouldn't realise that he hadn't been listing to her. "Oh, yes, sorry, a Sir Percival" she answered him, Merlin thought over his options for a moment, he needed to get the kings food but the girl standing before him was lost and even looked a little scared. "Ok I've got to go to the kitchens but Sir Percival's chambers are on the way there so I could escort you if you would like." Merlin watched for her reaction with apprehension but calmed when her face transferred from her original scared look to shock and then to gratitude "Yes, yes, thank you, I'm very grateful, yes thank you" Lucy thanked him repeatedly as they began walking. Merlin's face broke out in a grin at her praises as he lead her to Sir Percival's chambers.
As they walked an almost uncomfortable - awkward even - silence settled over them, one that Merlin did not understand the origins of, but was left to ponder it on his own. The uneasy silence was only broken when a petit girl rounded the corner in front of them, rapidly braiding her jet hair down her left side before tying it off in a knot with a white ribbon. As she approached them Merlin could just make out her mumbling some incoherent words or sentences under her breath. "Alice, what's going on?" Lucy asked in a forceful but somehow still tender voice as she reached out and placed her hand on Alice's forearm. Alice looked up from the floor and directed her gaze Lucy, her eyes momentarily fluttered to Merlin but quickly settled back on Lucy. "That royal asshole of a king really needs to sort out his manners." she snarled.
Merlin was shocked at how freely she had said those few words, not even bothering to lower her voice, as though it was impossible for anyone to overhear, yet at the same time he fought to hold back a small laugh. Lucy on the other hand did not seem amused in the slightest, and was giving Alice a look of disapproval "Alice, you can't say things like that here, do you realise how much trouble you could get into" she whispered angrily. Alice, in a way that made Merlin think that she had heard this a hundred times before, rolled her eyes inclined her head slightly and said "Yeah, yeah i know.". Lucy shook her head slightly and released Alice's arm, not bothering to hide the annoyed expression taking over her face. "Who's he?" Alice asked with a small nod in Merlin's direction, "Merlin-" he answered "-and I assume your name is Alice" he smiled lightly while she cocked an eyebrow in response.
He remembered her stating her name and how the two of them got here from the other day in the council chambers. She nodded in what he assumed was greeting but the curios, possibly suspicious look didn't leave her delicate features.
Forcefully gripping Alice's forearm Lucy practically dragged her down the wide stone hallway, not once looking back to see if Merlin was following after them. Realising that Lucy still needed his help to get to Sir Percival's chambers he hurried after the two girls, trying desperately to catch up with their quick paces. Once he was behind them again he could hear them conversing in rapid hushed tones - but when he just got close enough to hear them properly they silenced. Now walking besides them he chose to break the rising tension "So, do you still need me to show you to Percival's chambers?" Alice's head shot up at his voice only now noticing his reappearance. Lucy glanced at Alice with a cautious look before focusing on Merlin once more "Erm yes if you wouldn't mind, I also think that Alice here needs to be shown to Sir Gwaine's chambers, if you wouldn't mind?" Alice's head whipped around to face Lucy with a frustrated look though Merlin wasn't sure why, "Yeah sure, as long as you don't mind stopping by the kitchens first?" He said directing the second part of the sentence at Alice. After shooting another glare at Lucy she switched her gaze to him "Sure." she answered in short. Allowing yet another awkward silence to settle over them whilst they continued walking to Sir Percival's chambers, their feet hitting the flag stone floor the only sound in the halls other than the occasional hurried footfalls of a servant rushing past them.
After a few turns and a short flight of stairs they made it to Sir Percival's heavy oak door with its brass ring handle. Merlin stepped forward and gave the door three sharp knocks, stepped back and waited for the door to open. Moments later the door was gently opened by the muscular bald man that Lucy instantly recognised as the man who had led her and Alice to their temporary cell. Not quite knowing the proper thing to do in this situation Lucy went out on a whim and curtsied "Sir Percival". She assumed she had done the right thing as he soon asked her to step into his room in a gentlemanly way, presumably for some errands that needed doing Merlin thought. After Merlin had given Lucy a small smile and the door was closed he turned right down the hallway to continue his journey to the kitchens.
Glancing over his shoulder he noticed Alice following at a distance. She was different to Lucy, not just in her appearance but in her personality as well. Lucy seems kind and genuine; when you talked with her you get the feeling that she instantly trusted you. But Alice, no, she was the opposite, at least from what he had observed, she was...angry almost - very guarded. Perhaps I'm wrong he thought perhaps I just need to get to know her. Glancing over his shoulder again he observed Alice was still putting a distance between them, but cautious of his previous thoughts he let her be.
Before he knew it they had reached the kitchens, you could smell the delicious aroma of the food that was cooked inside wafting through the door, the juicy fat of the meats spitting in the pans and the stews already being prepared for dinner or lunch in the large pots.
Ignoring his growling stomach telling him that he hadn't had his own breakfast yet, he pushed open the doors and walked briskly inside - assuming that Alice would still be following. The kitchens were as hectic as ever, with people rushing back and forth with trays of food or polishing pots. But Merlin was used to this by now - he did after all have to come in here multiple times a day.
He ducked under a pot that was being lifted above someone's head and moved over to a table were three women were cutting cheeses and fruits into small bite sized pieces and placing them onto platters. He lifted one and turned on his heel back towards the door, very cautious of how late he already was. After spinning around once, ducking twice and walking backwards at one point he made it back to the doors were he found Alice standing outside leaning against with was with her arms crossed. His eyes locked with Alice's and he offered a small smile to which she replied to by pushing of the wall, letting her arms fall to her sides, Yes, very different indeed.
"Well, shall we get going then."
It was a statement not a question.
Slightly taken back by her marginally rude attitude he hesitantly replied "er, yeah, sure, come on then." He nodded slightly and started walking forward down the hall whilst Alice started to follow at a distance again. Gwaine's chambers were in between the kitchens and Arthur's chambers and Merlin could drop Alice of on the way, and then be told of by Arthur for being even later than he should have actually been. They're new, he reasoned with himself, they're going to need someone to help them out and no one else seems particularly willing to do it, everyone they had passed didn't even spare them a glance though he knew that everyone else knew that they were new.
Not quite realising how engrossed he had become with his own thought and excuses whirling around in his head he didn't notice when he nearly passed Gwaine's door. Managing to snap himself out of his thoughts he backtracked three steps so he was standing directly in front of the door - which was identical to Percival's. Merlin looked to his right where he saw Alice sanding by his side with her arms folded again eyes glued to the door in front of them - once she had noticed him looking at her her head snapped violently to the left and she cooked her left eyebrow once again. He quickly turned back to the door and gave it three sharp nocks, much like before and waited for it to open once again. It opened shortly after to a topless Gwaine who had very clearly just gotten out of bed. "Ah Merlin, what are you doing here?" Gwaine asked clearly not noticing the girl beside Merlin, "Just showing your new servant were your room was" he said with a polite smile. Gwaine finally noticed Alice's presence at his door and his eyes skirted across her before a small smirk settled across his lips. "I remember you, feisty - real fighter - you were." He remarked, realising how he had already met her. "You're not the first to say that." She snipped. "Oh well then do come in, I believe there are some jobs that need doing." His smirk only grew as she began to scowl. "Thank you Merlin." Gwaine nodded in appreciation.
Merlin nodded politely, despite Gwaine being a close friend of his by now - force of habit he assumed. Merlin turned on his heel for the third time already that day and walked the now short route to Arthur's chambers.
Upon opening the door to Arthur's room he was greeted with Arthur shouting at him for taking so long, or so 'bloody long' in Arthur's words - "I'm sorry Sire I was showing the new workers to their posts."
Merlin placed the platter of food at the end of Arthur's bed, staring at the multiple cheeses and slices of ham longingly. "Merlin?" snapping his head up and his had subconsciously going to his mouth to check for drool he replied with a hum. "Did you get any of that?" Arthur asked a sliver of annoyance entering his voice.
"Any of what Sire?"
"I said, what do you think of the two girls, Alice and Lucy?" Arthur replied with an exasperated sigh and an eye roll.
"They seem...different, my Lord, though they may be slightly out of sorts, i mean its not everyday your driven out of your home, travelling through forests, meeting with old ladies and falling into holes only to reappear in a room that you've never seen before."
"Hmm I suppose." He replied.
Alice's insults towards Arthur flittered through Merlin's mind and he pondered asking him what had happened in the time of him leaving and running into her but Arthur interrupted him before he got the chance "Merlin?" Arthur raised his voice his voice now dripping with his annoyance; it did not improve matters when Merlin replied yet again with a hum. "Never mind, are you going to listen to anything I say today or are you going to stay up in the clouds" he complained.
Shaking his head in annoyance Arthur placed a piece of cheese in his mouth and ordered Merlin out of his room to go and collect some water for a morning bathe. "Yes, you majesty." and Merlin departed the room again - already knowing that this would not be his last lengthily walk around the castle today.