"Merlin," the old man said. One bright blue eye was higher than the other, giving a rather deformed look. He had long, white hair that reached his shoulders. "Your favourite meal will be ready when you get back."
Merlin, the tall and lean young sorcerer looked up at the only father-like figure he had ever known. "Thank you, Gaius." He embraced the old man warmly. "Thank you for everything." His eyes were a bright, intelligent blue and his hair ivory.
Gaius simply shook his head. "Hurry. He hasn't got long. Farewell."
Merlin looked behind him sadly. On one of the horses, there was a wounded King. King Arthur, the once and only king of Camelot. He had received a horrible blow to the stomach delivered by one who had once been a close friend – Sir Mordred, the druid boy. The only way of recovery would be that of a dragon's magic, at Albion.
"Let's go then." He mounted his gray dappled horse and pressed his heels.
They road in silence through the forest of everlasting trees. But they both had the same dark thought: the death of Arthur.
Once in a while, King Arthur would moan in pain. Finally, they came through a valley. Two of the Lady Morgana's men were approaching quickly, looking for the King of Camelot. His death needed to be completed before the happiness of the High Priestess was renewed. She had already killed her men in pure rage that King Arthur had escaped once more, so this was vital.
They were dressed in pure black, as were their horses. Quickly, Merlin jumped off his horse and threw a cloak over Arthur, hiding his face from view. "Don't say a word," he warned Arthur.
Arthur stayed silent, but did as he was told. The news that his servant, his best friend of eight years was a sorcerer was a blow nearly has heavy as that of the druid boy, Mordred.
"Greetings, gentlemen," Merlin said as the enemies approached. "Two knights of Camelot came and ambushed us!" he cried. "They went that way." He pointed towards the nearby woods. With a flash of gold in his eyes, smoke appeared.
"Really?" they demanded. "Then what is this?" They stomped over to the King and pulled his cloak, revealing a tuft of blonde hair, blue eyes and probably the finest sword they had ever seen. They began drawing their own swords, but Merlin was too quick for them. Without murmuring a word, the pair was blasted off their feet and into the air.
"Quickly, let's go!" he called to Arthur before mounting his own horse and galloping away before Morgana's men saw where they were going.
Time was running up. The sun had come and set since they had set out. The moon was glowing in the darkness, the stars twinkling. They had reached the last forest and were camping. Arthur was getting worse and worse by the moment. They needed to get to Albion now.
"I thought I knew you." Arthur's voice was a quiet whisper.
"You do," Merlin insisted. "I haven't changed. But I'm sorry."
Arthur looked down at his wound. "Me too."
The sorcerer looked at his King. "I use my magic only for you, Arthur. Only for you and Camelot. Now get some sleep."
Sleep was all Arthur was capable of doing. But there was nothing else to do, especially since it was night time.
Merlin rested his back against a tree and closed his eyes.
The moment the sun appeared, Merlin was up. He pulled Arthur back onto his horse. With the help of magic, he saw the environment around them. "Morgana's men are close."
"You did that with magic," Arthur said.
"So you're not a complete idiot after all."
"That's just part of my charm." Merlin offered him a smile. For the first time in days, Arthur returned it.
Merlin was happier than he had been for a while. Finally, Arthur realized what he had been doing and why. He welcomed Merlin's magic.
Easily, they dodged around the men. With magic on your side, a lot was easier.
But time was running out.
By the second night, Arthur's time was at a close. He could hardly talk now and they were still far from Albion.
It was midday when Arthur could no longer go on. At least they had gotten out of the forest, but they still had a valley to traverse. They stopped at a stream, to refresh themselves.
However, someone was already there, waiting for them. Her hair was as black as a raven. She seemed to prefer wearing black rather than the colourful dressed Merlin has seen her wear so long ago.
"Morgana," Merlin spat out.
"Emrys. So nice of you to join us."
Merlin shook his head. "Goodbye." He pulled out Arthur's sword, Excalibur and ran through the High Priestess. This was something so many had tried and failed to do.
"You cannot kill me! Only a magic blade can kill me." But she knew that her end was coming.
"This was made by the breath of a dragon," Merlin explained. But it was too late. The once joyful Lady Morgana crumpled to the ground and moved no more.
Just in time, Arthur slid off his horses back and fell into Merlin's arms. Perhaps Morgana's wish was about to come true. "Just hold me."
Merlin shook his head. "No," he whispered, caressing Arthur's head. "Don't leave me where I can't follow." Tears came to his eyes, blurring his vision.
"Merlin, I'm going to tell you something I have never told you before." His voice was dying now. His end was catching up. "Thank you." Arthur's eyelids closed. His breath was slowing down now.
"No. I shall not leave you here!"
Merlin got up and yelled to the sky in a dialect so ancient, only he, the last Dragon lord and the race of Dragons could understand.
Within a couple of moments, a great, bronze shape came into view, flying in the clouds. He landed on the ground in front of Merlin. "What is it, young Warlock?"
Merlin said nothing. He could not trust his voice to be strong. Instead, he gestured to Arthur.
Kilgarrah knew what to do. He inched forward and breathed on Arthur's face.
"Well down, young warlock. You have saved the land of Albion. It is reunited once more. Arthur's time has not yet come, but mine has. A warning though. When his death is near, there is nothing you can do. But he is the once and future king. In the future, he will rise once more and it will be just as before. It has been a pleasure knowing you, Merlin. Good bye."
With these final words, the great dragon parted and was never seen again.
Merlin crouched down next to his king. "Arthur?" he asked as he brushed his tears away.
In Merlin's arms, Arthur opened his eyes and smiled. "Thank you. You have been more than just a servant. You are my best friend."
Merlin laughed with happiness as he embraced Arthur. There would be no Queen of Camelot today.
The throne room was full of the 50 Knights of the Round Table. Sir Percival, Sir Gwaine and Sir Leon had remained safely while Arthur and Merlin were out roaming the wilderness.
"As of today," King Arthur said from the throne. At his side was his wife, the beautiful Lady Gwen. But on his right side, was his most faithful friend and servant, the sorcerer, Emrys. "Magic will be allowed within the walls of Camelot, as long as you do not break any laws."
A chant broke out in the audience, in which Merlin was more than happy to join in.
"Long Live the Once and Future King!"