(A fortnight later)
"Merlin we should stop and make camp." Arthur said, the sun had set almost an hour ago and Merlin wanted to keep pushing on because they were only a few hours from his home. "But we're only a few hours away." Merlin persisted Arthur understood why Merlin wanted to keep going but also knew that danger of doing so "Merlin you know as well as I do that if we keep going is only asking for trouble. We can start out at first light then you can see your people and family at the same time when we get there it will make it all the more worth it. So let's set up camp for the night and head out tomorrow." Merlin sighed "You're right. If my memory serves there is a clearing up ahead right through those trees. it is defensible and it will serve for a good place to make camp." Arthur nodded and followed Merlin to the clearing.
The camp was set up very quickly with the aid of magic Arthur was amazed at how fast it was done but did not comment on it instead he just smiled at how amazing his friends were. He had become friends with all of Merlin's knights over the time he had spent with them. Soon they had a stew ready and eaten. Merlin took first watch and Arthur refused to go to sleep so they just talked about inconsequential things until something that had slipped Merlin's mind with all the chaos that had happened a fortnight ago came up. "Arthur there is one thing I forgot to tell you about my family it completely slipped my mind with all the things that were happening and it may cause some trouble if your father figures it out." Merlin said feeling a little guilty about not remembering this earlier "I can understand something slipping your mind you were under a lot of stress. So what could cause problems if my father finds out."
Merlin asked "What do you know of the dragon lords?" "Only what my father told me. That they could control dragons and that they were evil because what they did was to close to magic and that all of them were dead. But I don't believe that they were evil. I don't believe any of the stuff my father told me was evil anymore." Arthur replied. It made Merlin's heart swell with pride at Arthur's statement because that meant that he was finally thinking on his own not trying to be what his father wanted him to be but becoming his own person with ideas and thoughts not tainted by his father's way of thinking. "There is one dragon lord left and that is my father. Uther used him to capture the last dragon on the pretense of wanting to make peace with it. But as soon as the great dragon was captured he tried to capture my father and have him killed but my uncle Gaius helped him escape. If your father makes the connection between my father as king of Anelya and my father as a dragon lord he may come to Anelya to kill my father and me. I only wanted to tell you so that you know it could happen though he has not made the connection yet so it may not happen but I only needed to tell you so that you would be prepared for it." Arthur nodded saying "Well let's just hope that he never makes the connection. If does I know I will have to choose between him and you and I don't know who I will chose." "Arthur he's your father if you choose him I would understand and I will not think less of you for it. Just do what you think is right that is all I ask and if that is siding with your father then do it." Merlin replied reassuring his friend.
They talked all night and when first light came Merlin woke everyone else and they broke camp just as fast as they had made it which amazed Arthur even more. Arthur could not deny that Magic could be a beautiful thing that never ceased to amaze him.
(A half hour later)
The party was finally at the front gate of the city and Merlin heart was beating so hard it felt like it was going to hammer its way right out of his chest. He rode through the gate with Arthur at his side and his knights right behind him. People in the lower town started to gather around the group to catch a glimpse of who the knights had brought with them some started to recognize Merlin. Whispers were spreading through the crowd, then Merlin saw some of his friends who he had had in the lower town before he had had to flee. Merlin jumped off his horse and walked among his people greeting his friends asking how they had been, how many children they had, what they did for a living and anything else he could think of.
(In the throne room of the city)
Balinor was going through documents and signing them while talking with Hunith about what they would do once their son returned to them when the door to the throne room banged open and a servant by the name Alan came running in. He bowed and said "Sire there are whispers spreading form the lower town that the Knights you sent to Camelot have returned and that two young man are with them some of the whispers are saying that one of them is our lost prince." Balinor was on his feet at once along with Hunith saying "Then we should get out to courtyard immediately thank you for telling us. You may go." Alan bowed one more time then Balinor turned to Hunith smiling saying "We should get Aria and get to the courtyard I want to be there ready to greet him I want hold my son again to know he is real and still alive." Hunith was smiling just a brightly as she said "If I know our daughter she is already there. You know she had been scrying them every day since the that Merlin falcon showed itself she would know before any of us when her brother will be here she is probably already waiting. So let's go I want to see our son again too."
(Right outside the courtyard of the castle three minutes later)
Merlin walked among his people as he headed through the archway that lead to the courtyard his knights and Arthur were following behind him. All of them where smiling at how happy Merlin was Arthur was thinking "So this is my friend when he does not have to pretend not to be who he is. This is my friend when he is truly happy. I am glad I get to be here to see it."
Once they were in the courtyard Merlin stopped in his tracks at the steps into the castle where three people stood to greet their party. The king took a slow step forward and then another until he was standing right in front of Merlin. Merlin's breath hitched in his throat as he looked at his father. "Merlin." Balinor breathed almost not daring to believe his eyes "Father it is good to see you again." Merlin said tears of happiness forming in his eyes. Balinor laughed and hugged his son saying "I can't believe your home I've missed you so much my son." Merlin melted into his father's embrace as he said "I have never been happier to be home father I have missed everything and everyone." Balinor released his son looking him in the eye as he said "And all of us could not be more happy to have you home."
"Merlin!" A young woman yelled as she ran to Merlin throwing her arms around him "Aria it is good to see you I can't believe how beautiful you've become. my little sister is all grown up. It has been too long." Merlin replied laughing a little Aria looked at her brother saying "I saw you would be coming today I have been practicing my scrying but I could never see you before. I think you blocked anyone from scrying you when you had to flee but once Malith was defeated I could see you again. I have been keeping track of your progress so I saw you were coming today and I can't be more happy that you're home ." she finished by hugging her brother again." When they broke apart it was Hunith's turn "Mother it is good to see you made it home and that we can all be here together on this day." Hunith cupped Merlin's cheek in her hand and said "I am as well Merlin it is good to have you home."
After a few moments of tearful but happy reunions Merlin, followed by Arthur, followed his father to a privet room adjacent to the throne room that was used for privet affairs. Once everyone was there Merlin started with his story of how his life in Camelot was and how Arthur was a dear friend. He also told his family how Arthur did not share his father's views. He ended by telling them about how Uther has not made the connection between Balinor as king and dragon lord and that Uther wants and alliance and the only reason that Merlin said maybe was because of his destiny to protect Arthur. After two hours Merlin's story was finished and his whole family and Arthur were silent but Arthur was the first to speak "Well I guess I owe you more thanks than I thought Merlin and I am glad it is you that I owe it to." Merlin smiled at Arthur and said "It is just part of my job as a friend you prat." "Well I guess that means you are stuck to me all more Idiot and you are not getting rid of me any time soon." then they launched into their banter for a few minutes until Balinor cleared his throat and said "Well I can see what Hunith been talking about, you two do act just like brothers and from what I can see you your both worse than Merlin and Aria ever were." Arthur bowed his head saying "Sorry sire I did not mean to be rude it is just easy for either of us to pull the other into a game of wits and all the insults hold no meaning to them. They are just fond insults please forgive me I did not mean any disrespect."
Balinor was shocked but said "I did not mean that as a bad thing Arthur I am glad that my son had you as a friend while in Camelot. You are more than welcome here and feel free to be yourself here without any consequence you are a friends and guest and will be treated as such. I think that Merlin would love to show you around." Merlin smiled and said "I would be more than happy to tomorrow because I am exhausted I think all of us need some rest, we have been traveling for a little over a fortnight so I think Arthur would like some rest as well." Balinor agreed to this and said that the next day they Merlin could show Arthur around after he was officially crowned prince of Anelya which had Merlin finally notice that the whole castle had been buzzing about that on the way in. Tomorrow would be a big day but little did anyone know that tomorrow night would change everything in both kingdoms forever.