Chapter 2 part 1
Arthur's head was reeling, Merlin was not what Arthur thought, he was a bloody prince. From what Arthur read when he was a child about the kingdom of Anelya their Army was legendary, their army could be outnumbered twelve to one and still come out on top with hardly any casualties on their side. Merlin can barely hold a sword or he thought and he is clumsy and can't do a thing right. But come to find out one Merlin is a prince, two from Arthur had just heard he is probably the best fighter they have, three everything was a guise. Arthur thought to himself "No whatever else was a guise our friendship is not. I have had different views on magic then my father for a couple years but I had no one I could talk to about it but come to find out I did and just did not know it. Who knows maybe even Merlin has magic he is just hiding because I found out when I was a child that most of his family had magic through the generations though it did skip a few. I never really gave him a reason to trust me with his knowledge anyway because I was keeping up appearances that I did believe what my father said even though I did not. Even if Merlin does not have magic I am going to talk to him about it after our match I wonder if I can even touch him now that he does not have to hold back and pretend. Well I should probably get down there he is probably already there. But if he does have magic I will never turn him into my father I will never do that to him or any of his people who have magic and if I find a magic user who is helping others and my father has ask me to apprehend them I will get them out and send them to Anelya where they will be safe. It is the least I can do but if they are using it to hurt people I will apprehend them because that should not happen." Arthur smiled to himself wondering when he had changed so much then remembered that it was the first time that Merlin had stood up to him and saved his life that Arthur had really started to change.
Arthur made his way to the training ground when he got there what he saw made his mouth drop open. Merlin and the woman who had lead his knights in this morning were sparing but it was not that that had him so amazed. Merlin moved fluidly, the strikes that they were exchanging were so fast Arthur could barely keep up, The woman was breathing hard and had a few nicks on her but Merlin was breathing as if he was just walking and did not have a scratch on him. The next strike that he did was an amazing move, Merlin locked their blades at the hilt, kicked the woman's legs from under her while at the same time wrenching the sword from her grasp, and before the woman could even move off her knees Merlin flicked his sword to her throat and rested the tip on her collar bone. The woman smiled up at him and he smiled back pulling his sword away from her offering her a hand which she took and he pulled her to her feet saying "My love you have improved much since I last fought with you, an enemy who did not know you would be easy defeated but you use the same moves often so it was easy to predict what you would do. I know your every trick but you have yet to figure out mine and I think you know why that is. But you have improved greatly I am very proud of you." then he turned to face all of his knights and said "You have no idea how much sparing with all of you today has meant to me, I can't tell you how much I missed it. And thank you for bring my old sword with you and I can't wait to see what else you have brought, I have an idea what it is but since you will not tell me I am excited to see what it is that has all of you so happy other than see me again which I can tell you I feel the same way."
Arthur finally made the connection between the woman Merlin had loved when he was fifteen and the woman he was fighting "Merlin fell in love with one of his knights, his friend. It makes sense why whenever Lancelot talked about Gwen in the way he did before he had left Merlin seemed to get a far off but sad gaze. He had missed the woman he loved not knowing if he would ever see her again." Arthur was jolted out of his thoughts when Merlin said "Hey prat where have you been, I have been waiting long enough that I have fought all five of my knights." Arthur saw what Merlin was doing he was falling into their normal banter so Arthur walked forward saying "Well Idiot I can see that I saw that last fight so it seems you are not so useless with a sword after all but I bet I could still beat you." Merlin got a devious smile on his face and was twirling his sword expertly in his hand as he said "You want to test that because if that is a challenge I am more than happy to take it. Because I have studied how you fought for years. All strength and only analyzing the one move being executed and then retaliating. I would like to see how long you would last against someone who can adapt their fighting style at any given moment and who never uses the same trick twice. So I ask you, do you really want to do this?" Arthur deviously smiled back and said "Your on, rules all out fight nothing fatal though." Merlin laughed and said "You can go all out but I will not because if I did even though it would be nothing fatal you would be out of commission for least two months and would not be able to so much as twitch without sever pain racking your whole body. So you can go all out all you like because I could take you easily but I will control my fighting so I do not hurt you to badly but I will not make it easy for you it will still be a very hard fight." Arthur nodded still having a hard time fitting Merlin with a good sword fighter.
So they got into their stance to start the fight Arthur noticed that while he had his sword pointed directly at Merlin in his knights way of a starting stance which most kingdoms had Merlin stood strait, both hands on the hilt with the sword tilted a bit behind his head, Arthur wonder at it noticing that that stance left him completely open from the neck down. "Oh this is going to be easy." Arthur thought to himself Merlin watched Arthur every twitch every movement his eyes made he knew his friend well. He knew that Arthur thought that the stance he was using left him exposed which it did and he would think it would be easy to hit him while in this stance. But that was the whole point and it also implies the Merlin would not be able to counter an attack quick enough but Arthur had no idea just how quick Merlin was. Merlin knew that right before Arthur attacks he bunches his muscles. Arthur did just that as he charged at Merlin intent on hitting him in the leg, but before he made so much as two steps Merlin dodged out of the way of the sword while spinning kicked at Arthur's left leg making him go down to one knee, wrapped him on the left shoulder leaving a bruise, and ending up behind him all in a matter of seconds. Arthur turned halfway around to look up at Merlin a stunned look on his face as Merlin stood there calmly his own sword resting on his shoulder lightly. "I did not even make two steps towards you how did you do that? That was the most amazing, fastest, and perfectly executed strike I have ever seen. How?" Arthur asked completely shocked Merlin just smiled and said cryptically "That is for me two know and for you to try and find out. If you still do not know by the time this is done I will tell you how I do it though it will not do you any good to know I am just telling you because you are my friend but it will not make it any easier for you to defeat me. Do you still want to keep going or do you yield?" finishing with that question Arthur decided to try and take him by surprise and lunched himself off the ground slashing his own sword at Merlin's shoulder but then changing direction and going for Merlin's left leg. But Merlin did not fall for it and seemed to expect it, because he leaned his shoulder away from the blade while bring his sword down two his leg blocking Arthur then started spinning Arthur sword so fast the Arthur had a hard time keeping hold of it but then Merlin stopped spinning Arthur sword disengaged and put Arthur on the defensive. Arthur had a hard time blocking the strikes Merlin sent his way they were coming so fast he could barely keep up. After about ten minutes Arthur was sweating and breathing very hard he only had gotten on the offensive once and only for about a minute and a half before Merlin had him on the defensive again. Arthur tried to lock blades with Merlin one last time but Merlin did not give him the chance he disarmed him but warned him first with a simple but hard wrap to the wrist with the flat of his blade but Arthur did not drop it immediately Arthur knew that Merlin knew that would not disarm him it was more of a warning but after Merlin locked blades with Arthur at the tips then brought the tips of both blades to the ground in a swift movement which ripped Arthur's blade right out of his hands because of the force then one Arthur's blade was dropped Merlin immediately brought his sword up resting it against Arthur chest.
Merlin still did not have a scratch on him though he was breathing a little faster but on like he had just finished walking fast for twenty minutes, while Arthur was breathing like he had been in battle for a week and completely out of breath. Merlin took his sword away from Arthur's chest letting Arthur retrieve his sword before asking "Are you done or do you want to keep going until you collapse? You have shown you can hold your own fairly well against me which few who are not from Anelya can say Arthur but you are not going to win you are just going to end up fighting until you exhaust yourself. You did well just let it be." Arthur could see he was right but it was hard for him to except defeat it was very hard for him Merlin must have see the struggle going on in his mind because he had one of his brief spurts of wisdom as he said "Arthur excepting you can't beat someone is not a bad thing it just shows you what your limits are and everyone has them. All you can do is keep training until you pass those limits a little each time because that will make you stronger. You did well so excepting defeat is not something to be ashamed of you have learned where your limits are against me so now you know what you must do to surpass them to get stronger." Merlin smiled at him Arthur smiled back and said "Well you Idiot you never cease to amaze me that's for sure." "Let's hope I never do Prat because then life would get very boring for both of us." They laughed at that then Arthur got serious and said "Merlin can I talk to you alone there is something I want to ask you that would not be safe to ask in front of others." Arthur saw Merlin tense and eye him warily and with a hint of fear saying "All right where would you like to speak at?" "I wanted to speak at the lake not far from the city but no one will bother us there." Arthur replied knowing this a little suspicious but he had to be that way otherwise it could have disastrous consequences. "Let me speak to my knights really quick so I can get them to go and do some other things then we can go." Merlin said Arthur could hear the fear in his voice though only barely if he had not been paying so much attention he would not have noticed it. Arthur nodded and waited.
Merlin walked over to Ailya and said quietly so that no one else could hear "Ailya Arthur want to speak to me alone and with how cryptic he is being I think I know what about. I think he wants to talk about magic but I do not know why so I need you and the knights to be ready to run. Do you remember what the druids at home told us when we were children about Emrys and the once and future king and the destiny they share?" "Yes of course but what does that have to do with this?" Ailya whispered back "Everything. While I have been here I have found out a few things about myself and Arthur though I wish sometimes that I didn't because it has been a pain to see it through. I found out that that Arthur is the once and future king but I also found out from the druids here and the great dragon himself that I am Emrys and I have come to see that it is true. But I do not know if Arthur is ready to know yet. His views have been changing slowly but every time someone attacks using magic against Camelot it reverts his mindset back to magic is evil and if it didn't he acted like it did. Just in case I need you to tell the knights to prepare to run but wait for the order here, then I need you to follow behind me and Arthur but remain out of site you know how to do that better then Arthur and his knights put together. He thinks no one will be able to follow without him knowing but I know any of us could. I want you to stay hidden in the trees and be prepared to send a message to the knights if this should go wrong but if it does not and he is ready I will call you out of hiding. Can you do that for me?" Merlin replied Ailya nodded Merlin gave her a small smile, kissed her forehead, and then went off the follow Arthur knowing that Ailya would be close behind he could already sense her following though he could not hear her.