Arthur yawns and motions for the servant to fill his goblet. The 食物 on his plate is still untouched. He isn’t hungry; in fact he is bored and beside him, his father is enjoying himself with his council members. He looks beyond his father and notices his step mother is engaged with her own group of friends. Sighing, Arthur rues why he agreed to 加入 the feast in the first place. He didn’t want to disappoint his mother even though he knows how boring feasts like this are. And now he wishes he hadn’t promised her. He could be elsewhere right now, enjoying the night with his friends. But instead he is stuck here, for worse. It’s bad enough the function is boring to the core; there aren’t any woman of his taste at all! Everywhere he turns to, he comes across women either nearing their death 或者 will be approaching it in another ten years time. Where are the younger generations? Where are the princesses? Where are the lovely Ladies? How come they are not here when their husbands, fathers 或者 even fiancés are all around? Were they left at 首页 on a purpose, because they knew Arthur Pendragon would be attending? Do the men fear Arthur badly enough to leave the women at home? Do they really think they can carry on hiding the spouses, wives 或者 even daughters from Arthur forever? Arthur smiles at the thought and rakes his blond hair. ‘When I am king, they have no choice but to come over with their better halves and then …’
he smiles again, leaning against his seat. Then suddenly, he regrets thinking such as pain and guilt crosses his face. ‘What am I thinking? Stop it Arthur... stop it!’
“Enjoying the view are we?” someone taps Arthur on the shoulder distracting the latter.
Arthur cranes his neck around and immediately flashes his pearly teeth. “Merlin!” he says and reaches out to grab Merlin’s outstretched arm. “This is a surprise,” Arthur says as Merlin pulls a chair and sits beside Arthur. “I didn’t know you’d been invited,” he says and quickly rues what he said. “Don’t get me wrong, Merlin but I thought 你 hated feasts like this. So your presence took me 由 surprise,”
“I still don’t, but if it wasn’t for your father, I wouldn’t be here.” Merlin informs. “He invited me, saying you’d be bored and wanted me to keep 你 company,”
“Oh, that’s very thoughtful of him, for a change.” Arthur rolls his eyes and looks away. His eye crosses paths with the wife of one of the lords there. She smiles at him and licks her lips. Arthur smiles politely and turns back towards Merlin.
“Don’t say that, he is always looking out for you,” Merlin reminds Arthur. “He takes care of your interest, Arthur.”
“Yeah … I can see that.”
“What is wrong with you, Arthur? 你 seem completely bored. Aren’t 你 enjoying yourself?” Merlin asks as he requests for a drink from the one of the servants serving at the dais.
Arthur inches closer to his friend and whispers, “Let’s get out of here and I will tell 你 why I am not interested.”
Merlin pulls away and stares at Arthur a while. “Are 你 serious about this?”
“Arthur … this is a royal feast and 你 are expected to be here. Are 你 asking me to lead 你 away from here?” Merlin asks and sips his drink.
“That isn’t part of my plan but I like it nevertheless.” Arthur smiles at Merlin. “Lead the way, my friend.”
“Forget it!” Merlin shakes his head and reaches for a cherry.
“Merlin,” Arthur hisses as he grabs Merlin’s 领, 衣领 and yanks him closer to him. “Take me out of here 或者 I will tell your mother that 你 are having an affair with the 皇后乐队 of Tintagel. I am sure she’ll be interested to know all about it,” Arthur threatens with a mischievous smile on his face.
“You will not!”
“Why don’t 你 give me a try?” Arthur challenges Merlin.
“You are impossible, Arthur Pendragon.” Merlin swallows the 樱桃 and stares angrily at Arthur.
“Aren’t I always,” Arthur smiles and leans back, resting against the chair but his eyes never straying off Merlin. “I’m waiting, Merlin.”
Growling softly and cursing his big mouth, Merlin pushes his chair back and goes behind Arthur, towards Uther. Arthur smiles to himself and waits patiently. He knows his father trusts Merlin 更多 than he does Arthur. So no matter what story Merlin comes up with, his father will believe it unquestioningly. Merlin reaches Uther, bows in respect and whispers to the king’s ears. At first Uther doesn’t like what he hears, but after further persuasion, he nods and continues with his conversation. Merlin walks back to his friend.
“Let’s go,” he says without even stopping 由 Arthur. On the way, he grabs a handful of cherries and pops them one 由 one into his mouth.
“Merlin, wait up …” Arthur calls softly and gets to his feet. Merlin is almost out of the hall. Arthur smiles apologetically at the guests’ beside him and rushes off after Merlin.
“Merlin … Merlin, wait up, I say … Merlin!” Arthur runs after Merlin and catches his friend 由 his arm, halting him in his stride.
“Wait please … what’s the hurry?”
“You wanted to get out of there and I just helped you. So now I’m leaving,” Merlin informs and, wiping his hand on his pants, he turns to leave. But Arthur’s firm grip on his hand halts his leave.
“Leaving? 你 just got here, Merlin!”
“I think I’m done enjoying myself for the night,” Merlin peels Arthur’s fingers from around his arm and proceeds to walk away but Arthur grabs his friend’s arm again. This time with both his hands.
“All right … what have I done?”
“You don’t know?”
“Is that about the threat? Don’t tell me 你 took it seriously, Merlin.”
“I did, Arthur … and 你 know why? Because I believe 你 will do as 你 say. There’s no doubting your capabilities.” Merlin removes Arthur’s hands from his arm.
“Merlin, it was a joke.”
“You don’t see me laughing, do you?” Merlin crosses his arms across his chest. “I don’t find it amusing, Arthur.”
“Fine … fine. I am sorry. It was a joke, honestly, but if I have offended you, then I apologise.”
“Whatever, Arthur … it’s always a joke 或者 fun for you. I just wish you’d take things a little bit seriously.”
“Oh, come on … 你 are not still sulking, are you? I apologised …”
“Fine … now, what’s wrong with you?”
“Don’t even try to pull my leg with the innocent act, Arthur. Why do 你 want to leave the feast? And what happened between 你 and your father?”
Arthur looks around and grabbing Merlin’s arm, he pulls his friend away. They reach the courtyard and Arthur releases Merlin. “I don’t want anyone to hear us,” he explains to Merlin after noticing the startled look on his friend’s face.
“Someone will? 你 have traitors here?” Merlin looks around.
“You may never know, Merlin,” Arthur says.
“Fine, but I am still waiting for the explanation,” Merlin says.
“Ermm … this morning, my father found out about another … erm ... woman I brought back 首页 and, it upset him.”
“And that explains why he was reluctant to let 你 go. In fact he didn’t like the idea one bit.”
“And how did 你 manage to convince him otherwise?”
“I 说 I will be with 你 all night, watching you, and he was convinced,” Merlin explains honestly, shaking his head.
“That’s very sweet of you,” Arthur teases and looks away. The night was breezy and Arthur sighs, taking in the fresh air. Walking towards the statue of his grandfather, placed in front of the steps, he leans against it. Merlin nears him.
“So … 你 were caught red handed again? Why am I not surprised?”
“Merlin!” Arthur snaps at him and looks ahead. “You are not helping at all.”
“What do 你 want me to do, Arthur? Take the blame and say that she was my fault and not yours? Even if I do, Uther will not believe me. This is becoming a habit! I have advised 你 again and again, yet 你 continue to ignore my advice! How am I to help 你 when 你 are not helping yourself?”
“I can’t help it, Merlin … I just can’t,” Arthur tells his friend. “I have tried, but no matter how hard I try to control my lust, I get tempted easily. I just can’t change my ways.”
“You are not trying. 你 give up easily and the demon in 你 is consuming your life because 你 are letting it,” Merlin says, sighing in frustration. This isn’t the first time they have had this conversation and yet the end results are always the same. Arthur just refuses to change his habit.
“That is not true, Merlin,” Arthur argues. “You don’t know what’s transpiring in me every 日 … no one does,”
“And is this what you’ll be doing once 你 are the king?”
“Now, that’s another subject I hate to discuss,”
“You can’t deny your rights, Arthur.” Merlin walks around to face Arthur. “This is your fate, your destiny and are 你 telling me 你 wish not to become the king?”
“Yes!” Arthur snaps at Merlin. He hates discussing this topic and each time anyone brings it up, he snaps at them; let it be his mother, father 或者 even his good friend. He 迷失 count how many times he mentioned about his disinterest in taking over the 王座, 宝座 and yet they keep pursuing him again and again. Won’t they ever listen?
“Because it will put a leash on my freedom, that’s why!” Arthur’s getting annoyed with Merlin. His friend should know 由 now why Arthur hates discussing the subject and yet he too, like the others, is pushing him.
“That’s ridiculous Arthur. That’s not true.”
“Say what 你 want but I am determined with my decisions. I have thought about it seriously and no matter what 你 或者 mother says, I am still not interested in becoming king.” Arthur wants to bury the subject once and for all.
“You don’t choose all this, Arthur, it happens when it should. 你 are the heir to the 王座, 宝座 and a Pendragon. 你 shouldn’t be denying that right.”
“I don’t want to be the king, Merlin.”
“Arthur … 你 are one stupid fool!”
“Go ahead and tell me what 你 want …”
“This is …” Merlin doesn’t know how to continue. He knows Arthur doesn’t want the crown but the reason he gives is atrocious. What is Arthur thinking? To relinquish that right for the sake of his perceived freedom is completely stupid. And he wants his freedom so that he can continue his philandering with whomever he chooses. This is not the ways of a Pendragon 或者 a prince. And what will Uther think of this? “I think you’re not using your brain to speak.”
“Say what 你 want …”
“Arthur!!” Merlin grabs Arthur’s sleeve and almost tears it, angrily. “Will 你 stop it? Just for once … for once in your life, will 你 do something using your brain!” Merlin scolds. “You want your freedom, fine … have it. No one is stopping 你 at all, but to use that reason for not accepting the 王座, 宝座 is … I don’t even know what to say. 你 are the prince, and it’s about time 你 accept and behave like one. Your father is aging and he doesn’t have much time left to rule. He wants 你 to become the king so that the line of Pendragons will carry on. That has been the ways of the Pendragons and Camelot. And regardless of whether 你 like it 或者 not, 你 must accept it!”
“Shut up, Arthur, I am not done here!” Merlin snaps, silencing Arthur with his finger. Arthur keeps quiet. “I have to be honest, Arthur. I don’t like the way 你 behave with women but that’s your life and I have absolutely no rights to poke my nose in that, but don’t think I agree with all 你 do. I don’t, just so 你 know. But, I will let myself in without invitation when it comes to choosing a king. Because my father in one of the council members, I am your friend and I am one of the king’s subjects. So I have absolute right like everyone else in voicing my opinions. And I believe 你 should consider it. I don’t care what 你 think 或者 plan, but the line of the Pendragons should not be broken. If 你 still insist on doing so, I will do all in my strength to ensure that 你 are crowned king. If I need to break your leg, then so be it. All for the sake of the kingdom!” Merlin finishes and takes in a huge gulp of air.
Arthur stares at him for a while, speechless. Surely Merlin didn’t mean all that? 或者 does he? Merlin has always been the softer than the rest of his friends, calm and always patient. And Arthur has never heard these sorts of words from Merlin’s mouth before. This will be the first but if his friend is capable of using these words, then he surely must be very upset with Arthur’s decision. Whatever it is, this is Arthur’s life and at the end of the 日 the decision must be Arthur’s alone. There mustn’t be any influence from any side. Arthur sighs and after a while he speaks. “I just don’t believe this, Merlin. Why are 你 all forcing me? First mother and now you. I thought you’d be on my side as my friend, but 你 disappoint me.”
“Like 你 do me, Arthur,” Merlin whispers softly and Arthur didn’t hear what he said. “I am still your friend, Arthur, and will always be, but please try to consider what I have said. It is for your own good.”
“I can’t promise anything, Merlin. I am sorry to disappoint, but this is my life and I have to decide what’s good for me. I can’t listen to others 或者 try to satisfy everyone!” he glares at Merlin. “I have only one person to satisfy and that’s me alone!”
“Fine … get married then!”
“What?” Arthur says and then guffaws loudly, clutching his stomach.
“What’s funny, Arthur?”
“You are, Merlin … what kind of nonsense is this? Look Merlin, I have two goals in my life, just two goals. First, I will not be the king and second, marriage is way out of my league. I prefer to stay as I am, thank 你 very much. But it was a good joke anyway.”
Merlin wants to slap Arthur badly. “Why are 你 being such a stubborn pig, Arthur? If 你 choose not to become the king, then at least make your father happy 由 getting married. At least provide him that happiness!”
“Like I said, Merlin, marriage has never been part of my plan.”
“Why? Because it will deprive 你 of your precious happiness as well?”
“Yes … imagine 你 are about to have fun with someone and then suddenly 你 remember 你 have a wife waiting for 你 at home! What will 你 do … 你 have no choice but to drop everything 你 do and get back to your wife. And what if 你 don’t like that wife of yours? It just sickens you, doesn’t it?” Arthur explains. “And then 你 are expected to be a good husband to that wife 或者 else people will start to talk … much is expected and I can’t promise any of that. A wife ties 你 down and I hate getting tied down. So … marriage is a big NO!”
Merlin closes his eyes to control his temper. “You are deliberately doing this to get back at your father, isn’t that so?”
“And what gave 你 the idea, Merlin?” Arthur is surprised 由 Merlin’s statement. “Look … I have nothing against my father. I just want to be on my own. If I become the king, I’ll be caged and I will become the puppeteer, pulling the strings, calling the shots. I don’t want it because I am not good with all that. I’m just not cut out to be a good leader and this kingdom certainly doesn’t need someone like me, so I am relinquishing my rights for the throne.” Arthur explains. “My father is a good person, a perfect embodiment of justice and the people loves him but … he has to find another person to replace him because I just don’t fit in any of his plans.”
“And who will that person be?”
“Anyone, Merlin … anyone but me. I would have absolutely no issue should he choose someone else to take over the kingdom. Well … it could even be you, for all I care.”
“Arthur … Arthur,” Merlin doesn’t know what to say anymore. Merlin sits down 由 the steps and buries his face in his hands. Beside him, Arthur is still standing. Arthur is impossible, but so is Uther. He will not take no for an answer, Merlin thinks. What will he tell the king now? Merlin remembers the promise he made to Uther in the afternoon when the king had summoned for him. It was a short meeting where Uther asked a simple request. To make Arthur agree with the coronation and Merlin felt it was an easy task at that time. He didn’t realize it’ll make his blood boil with rage. But that aside, what will he tell the king? Uther will be expecting an answer from Merlin. And what will the king say 或者 how will Uther react after learning the truth from Merlin?
“Look Merlin,” Arthur touches Merlin’s shoulder and sits down beside his friend.
Merlin looks up.
“I understand your concern and appreciate it, but …” Arthur licks his lips and pauses. “This is what I want. I am just asking some appreciation in return. That’s all,”
Merlin feels bad for Arthur. He knows how frustrated Arthur is but this is Merlin’s duty as his friend. A kingdom is at stake here and Arthur shouldn’t be jeopardizing it for the sake of his own selfishness. But this is also a life of a friend close to his heart. It breaks Merlin to see Arthur sad but it also boils his blood when he listens to his friend’s stupidity. Merlin doesn’t know what to do. He is stuck in between a father and a son. How he wishes he didn’t come over for the feast 或者 promised Uther.
“Yes?” Merlin sighs and arches his brow, turning to meet Arthur beside him.
“Say something, Merlin.”
“What do 你 want me to say, Arthur? 你 have already made your mind up and refuse to change it so … what else can I say? Nothing I say will do any good.”
“Come on Merlin. Don’t do this to me, please.”
“I don’t know, Arthur. I just don’t know what to say 或者 how to tell 你 anything, because 你 don’t listen anyway. Like 你 said, it’s your life, so I’ll leave 你 alone. I am still with 你 and will have my support but don’t think I like your decision 或者 agree with it at all.”
“It applies for your philandering ways, too.” Merlin adds, looking ahead.
“Sure.” Arthur replies. “So, we are good now?”
“Aren’t we always Arthur? Just …”
“I know … my stupidity gets in the way …” Arthur cuts Merlin and puts in quickly.
“Good that 你 know,” Merlin smiles. Arthur smiles as well and extends his hand. Merlin takes it and shakes it in a friendly way. Both men laugh.
“So, what is your proposal? How are 你 going to tell your father about it?” Merlin asks.
“Not planning to … well, not me of course.”
“Then who will?”
“You,” Arthur smiles mischievously.
Merlin’s 心 leaps out. He gapes and stares wide eyed at Arthur. “What?” he asks. “Are 你 out of your mind?”
“My father listens to you, and I think 你 are the right person to tell him about my plans. 你 are my friend, aren’t you, Merlin?”
“Yes … but I also value my life. Do 你 know what will happen if the king hears about this? I will be put in the stocks for weeks and probably burnt at stake …”
“Merlin, you’re overreacting. My father isn’t that cruel, 你 know. He loves 你 likes his own son and all this while he listened to you, did he not?”
“Arthur, that was different.”
“Then make sure 你 are as convincing as 你 always are. Easy right?”
“For you, probably, but …” Merlin shakes his head and bites his lip in worry.
“Merlin … 你 always have a solution up your sleeve so … it’s time 你 pull one of those down for me. Talk to my father and make him understand.”
“Why don’t 你 do it yourself? He’d appreciate it,” Merlin tries to persuade Arthur.
“Me? Merlin … my father will have a stroke and probably not recover from it if I tell him myself. Is that what 你 need right now? Deprived of a king and a prince who is reluctant to take up the throne? No, Merlin … I have 给 this a lot of thought and I find that 你 fit best to convey my message.”
“She refuses to get involved.” ‘Great! So everyone has backed out and that leaves me … wonderful!! While everyone else is safe, I will hold my life at sword’s end!’
Merlin thinks alone.
“Merlin … will 你 talk to my father?” ‘Do I have a choice?’
Merlin thinks again.
“Merlin!!” Arthur shakes Merlin vigorously.
“Yes, yes, yes … I will … will do,” Merlin 回复 in the midst of his worry.
“Thank you!!” Arthur says happily and embraces his friend while Merlin sits tight thinking what will happen tomorrow.
In the shadows, underneath the arch a shadow looms. Uther shifts his position and looks at his son and his friend sadly. He hears what is being discussed 由 both men and sighs with a broken heart. He has expected refusal from Arthur regarding the coronation but to hear that Arthur is refusing to get married worries Uther. Arthur’s behaviour is causing an unnecessary rift between the other kingdoms and they are already distancing themselves from Camelot. If this goes on, Camelot will be without a single ally. And that isn’t something Uther wants at the moment. He needs his allies and he also needs his son. He shakes his head and turns back to head inside. He knows something must be done to convince Arthur about marriage. But what? And who will help him see to it? Uther hangs his head down and walks back to the great hall sadly, but silently hoping for a miracle.
Gwen helps her father to drag the huge sack up onto his carriage. It was a heavy load as it’s filled with armour and chain mail, ordered 由 the king of Camelot. It’s not unusual that Tom gets such a demanding order as he is one of the best blacksmiths in Camelot and his work and skills speak for themselves. And it hasn’t gone unnoticed in the court of Uther Pendragon. Known as a man who appreciates skills and craft, Uther had personally visited Tom’s 商店 a number of times and placed personal orders for his sword and armour. And Tom didn’t disappoint. Tom made sure he gave the King the best of his craft and placed himself among the King’s favorites. And after that, sometimes the king would ask Tom to prepare huge demanding orders for his retinue and even if he was in the middle of another project, Tom would drop everything and see that the king’s demands are carried out. And he is always paid handsomely, too. And it is with this money that Tom gets the supplies both for his 首页 and the shop. This order came last week and Tom has finished working on it yesterday night. Today, he will deliver the supplies to the court and collect the money he was promised.
“Careful, Guinevere … the chain mail is very delicate and will not stand being dropped,” Tom warns as Gwen drags the 秒 sack towards the carriage.
“Hmmph!!” Gwen agrees in between her teeth and heaves the sack up the carriage. But the load was way too heavy for her and she almost topples back along with the sack before her father rushes to her aid and catches her and the sack together.
“Careful,” her father says, holding the sack in one hand and his daughter in another. He lays the sack carefully down on the ground.
“Sorry, Father … I thought I could heave it up.”
“The sack is heavy, child, and that’s why I 说 I’d do it,” her father responds.
“Sorry, Father.” Gwen looks down, sad and ashamed. Her father loads the sack on the carriage and turns around to tilt her chin up, looking down at her warmly.
“There’s no need to be sorry, love. 你 are my 天使 and I know why you’re trying to help me. 你 always make sure I don’t get burdened and share some of my burden to ease me. But this is something 你 can never share. It’s heavy and I alone must finish this. Besides … I hate to see 你 spoiling those beautiful hands of yours. 你 need to keep them for your husband, love.”
“Don’t argue with me, Guinevere. 你 know it’s true,” her father laughs and goes back to his house to drag out another sack while Gwen arranges the sacks in the carriages.
“We have already discussed this many times, Father …”
“And I have reminded 你 many times too … that this work is not for you. It’s a man’s work and 你 should let me handle it.” Tom says and heaves the sack he held in his hand onto the carriage. But unfortunately the string that tied the sack together came loose and the armour inside comes tumbling down from the carriage.
“Ohhh …” Gwen covers her mouth and runs off to pick the fallen pieces. Her father curses himself and picks up the armour near the carriage. As they do, some yards behind them, daughter and father hear noises of hooves, galloping towards them.
“What is that?” Tom asks, looking questioningly at Gwen. His daughter shrugs her shoulder and shakes her head.
The noises grows closer and as dust gathers up at the end of the path, Gwen thinks she saw a group of 马 with mounted men on them galloping in their path. Her eyes widen and she looks quickly at her father.
“Father … bandits!”
“Quick Gwen … hide,” her father instructs, collects the armour and throws it into the carriage.
“But father, your armour …”
“Leave it, forget it and get back inside … now!!”
“Now!!” and Gwen didn’t need a 秒 warning. She drops the armour she held in her hand onto the carriage and picks her 袍, 礼服 and rushes to her home. Behind her, Tom is still picking up the armour in a hurry.
Arthur gallops as fast he can and tries to beat his friend Bors to reach the destination they have agreed earlier. Behind them, the other guys are struggling to keep up with the front two and seem to have 给 up on catching up. But they don’t want to be left behind and tries to remain in the group. But Arthur and Bors seems to have an own agenda in the race and hardly pays any attention on the path they are racing in. All they care is the win that waits ahead of them.
“Trying to catch up, Bors?” Arthur asks, galloping to stay ahead.
“That’s you, Arthur … if 你 look carefully, I’m the one ahead.”
“Ohh … trying to talk big are we?”
“That’s your trait … I 显示 what I’m made of in what I do,”
Arthur laughs and whips the reins of his horse and races ahead. As they do, both men notice the carriage and a man ahead. Arthur curses at the carriage and the man lies in his way. Beside him Bors laughs.
“You are going to lose for sure, Arthur … there’s no way 你 can pass him without knocking him down first.”
“Then … watch me!” Arthur hisses and closes in.
Gwen reaches the front of her house when she hears a loud wailing. She turns around and with horror, she notices her father being knocked 由 the man on the horse. She screams and catches the man’s attentions. And that seems to be good for Gwen because the man knocks onto the carriage and is thrown off the horse. He lands with a loud thud on the ground and lays sprawled. The other 马 stop and they 移动 towards the man on the ground, circling him and laughing.
Gwen sprints towards her father and helps him up. Blood seeps out from her father’s forehead and she wipes the dust and grime from Tom’s elbow and shirt. Behind her, the group is still laughing at the fallen man. Gwen ignores them and helps her father up.
“Guinevere… I told 你 to get back inside.”
“Shhhh, Father. Do not speak. I’m going to help 你 inside, put your arm around me,” she tells her father and helps him onto his feet.
“The armour …”
“Later,” Gwen says shortly and walks her father to the house.
But she hasn’t moved her step when a shout halts her steps.
“Hold there!!” a growl stops her footsteps and she turns around, with her father still in her arms.
The man who knocked her father is looking at her, his face furious and covered with mud and dust, courtesy of the place he landed a while ago. Behind him, his 老友记 are still laughing at him.
Gwen doesn’t recognise any of the men in front of her, but her father does. And he asks her to leave him and bows in the midst of his pain.
“What for?” she asks, curious that her father is bowing to a stranger.
“That’s the crowned prince of Camelot … that’s Prince Arthur.” Her father says. “Quick, bow to him.”
Gwen has never seen the prince before but she has heard a little about him from her father and the rest of the villagers. What she hears didn’t exactly make any impression and no one can blame her for that. After all, Arthur didn’t exactly make himself known to his subjects in good way. If there is one thing the people of Camelot remember of Arthur, it’s his philandering ways and not anything else. But Gwen knows the king and remembers him fondly. And she has full respect for her ruler. But if indeed this is the son of the respected ruler then he is messing with the wrong person today. Gwen might just be a simple servant of Camelot but she isn’t someone who likes to be trampled 由 someone like Arthur. So she simply turns to her father and says, “No!”
“What?” her father hisses quietly.
“I will not bow to him, Father. He knocked 你 down and let him apologise to 你 first … until then the bow can be discussed,” Gwen replies.
“Gwen …” but it was too late as Gwen steps 前锋, 期待 to meet Arthur. Her father shakes his head and prays quietly.
With her chin up and defiance in her eyes, she eyes him boldly. “Yes?”
“Aren’t 你 forgetting something?” Arthur asks, wiping the dust from his tunic.
“Excuse me?” Arthur is shocked and baffled at the same time. ‘Surely this must be a joke. Doesn’t she know who I am?’
he thinks to himself.
“You knocked my father down, so I think 你 owe him an apology,” Gwen reminds Arthur and crosses her hands across her chest.
Arthur laughs followed 由 the other men behind him. Shaking his head, Arthur turns to his friends. “This is a joke, 或者 what?”
“I mean it,” Gwen reinstates. Arthur turns back at her and his smile fades.
“You know who I am, don’t you, lass?”
“I know who 你 are 或者 where 你 dwell but a mistake is a mistake and I don’t care if 你 are the king himself … 你 should apologise to my father.”
“That’s ridiculous …” Arthur waves his hand to dismiss the request and licks his lip.
“Guinevere …” behind her, Tom calls for his daughter. But Gwen ignores her father and continues to look at Arthur, hardly flinching at the sight of the prince.
Arthur’s ears burn listening to the girl in front of him. She is messing with the wrong person today and despite the fact that she is good looking, she isn’t going to be in his good books. “I am the prince of Camelot and I don’t apologise to anyone … read my lips, anyone at all! 你 and your father can be charged for what happened here.”
“Charged with what? Surely there has to be a charge before 你 can throw anyone into the dungeons. So what’s the charge?”
“What the!!!” Arthur grits his teeth in anger and steps in front. As his 老友记 do the same, he stops them with his hand and goes to meet Gwen in his own. He reaches her and stares down, his blue eyes flashing like the angry sun in the morning. His face is all covered with dust and mud. He still looks handsome, but for Gwen he resembles nothing 更多 than the twit who has knocked her father down. And she wants justice; let it be the king 或者 his son.
“So 你 think 你 know better,” he teases but he isn’t smiling.
“No … I just want justice be served … that’s all.”
“You have no idea to whom 你 are speaking.”
“It can be the king for all that matters, but my answer is still the same. Apologise.”
“I can throw 你 in the dungeons and make sure 你 don’t see the light 或者 your old man,” Arthurs warns her, eyeing her from the head to the toe and back to her face again. “And I can make your life far 更多 torturous than 你 can even imagine … far more,” he licks his lips and smiles at her. But Gwen stands, refusing to be intimidated. “Since 你 are ignorant of who I am, I suggest 你 find out who 你 are dealing with first before submitting such a demanding request. 你 have no idea how far I’d go to get my way against … someone like you, someone who messes with me.”
Gwen smiles, irking Arthur further. She knows she has gone overboard with her demands for this is no way to speak with a prince, be he a useless one 或者 not. A prince is a prince and there are protocols to be followed. But she is angry. Angry that someone like the prince uses his arrogance and authority to downcast people like her father. After all, what has her father done but accidentally stand in the way of their race? They could have easily used another path and avoided the road. There is no reason to knock her father down. What if his injuries were severe? How would she handle it? Where would she turn? And whom will she ask for help? The prince needs to be taught a lesson and if she is the one to do it, so be it. “In case you’ve misheard me … 你 knocked my father down and if the king had been here, he would have stepped down and apologised to my father because that’s the person he is. Kind, honest, and humble. I don’t know 你 nor have I seen 你 before, but if you’re indeed the son of the kind and good king Uther than 你 surely would follow in your father’s footsteps. And that’s what I expected when my father uttered your name. But looks like my expectation was wrong … not only are 你 arrogant, but 你 are also misusing the authority of your crown to pass judgments on your father’s subjects. Just because I don’t know 你 doesn’t mean that I don’t know the laws of your father. It clearly states that no one is to be judged without reason and any judgments must be fairly tried at the court of the laws. And the king also has stressed that everyone should be polite with one another, let it be in the court 或者 outside, royalties 或者 the subjects, rich 或者 poor. Everyone stands equal in the name of fairness and if a man wrongs another, he can be a king himself but he still will have to apologise to the other party. So, Sire …” Gwen bows and looks up again at Arthur. “I’m expecting 你 to make good of your father’s words.” She finishes.
For Arthur the words stings like a bee in his ears. Behind him his friend’s murmurs. He knows they are not laughing as they hate to irk his wrath but they will once they are out of this place. They will remember this incident, recall it back in every conversation and use it tease the life out of Arthur. And it will 熊 a huge humiliation in Arthur’s life. Humiliation! His face turns red and flashes of anger crosses his face. The girl surely knows her words and chooses them carefully, bringing his father inside her conversation. ‘Curse 你 father!!’
he thinks as he remembers the laws the king created for the benefits of the people in Camelot. Benefit … all they have done for Arthur is make his life less entertaining because of the equality. There are fewer punishments, less trials and even less men and women in stocks because of his father’s leniency. If only his father had been stricter … this lass here would think twice before posing such a 问题 at him. Clenching his cheek, he simply stares at her unable to continue.
“Sire … pardon us, sir. This is my daughter and she is speaking without using her intelligence. I apologise for her bluntness and I hope 你 will accept my apology. This is an accident and nothing 更多 than that. I apologise for standing in the way, Sire … please accept our humble apology. We bow to you,” Tom grabs Gwen’s hand and bows at Arthur.
“Silence, Guinevere!” her father hisses at Gwen and turns back at Arthur. “Bow to the prince.”
“Father … hmph!!” Gwen as no choice but to do as her father instructs. She bows at Arthur.
“Say 你 are sorry, Guinevere.”
And when Gwen hesitates, her father presses further and she has no choice but to follow suit. “I’m sorry Sire,” she spits between clenched teeth.
Arthur smirks and closes in. With his fingers, he clips her chin and lifts it up. He smiles into her eyes while Gwen burns inside. “You are very lucky lass indeed,” he says. “If it wasn’t for your father …” he licks his lips and smiles further. For Tom, he knows what that means. “You have no idea what would have happened between us,” Arthur finishes.
“Don’t flatter yourself, Sire.”
“Oh .. I am not even thinking of that at all. I am just thinking of various ways …” Arthur eyes her again. “you and I could make ourselves better acquainted,” he smiles and releases her.
“Perhaps 你 ought to look for that sort of female acquaintance at the tavern, Sire, for I am not that sort of woman nor have I been brought up in such way. If 你 are done with us, my father and I would like to get back to our tasks as we don’t have the luxury of passing off days 由 tormenting 或者 making fun of others.”
Arthur burns inside but he remains calm despite the stinging words. “It’s all right, Tom, I had better leave and allow 你 to get back to your task. Wouldn’t even dream of keeping 你 and your lovely daughter here away from your tasks,” he says and steps back, releasing Gwen. He winks at her.
Gwen inches up and glares at him sharply. Arthur smiles and blows his kisses at her before turning around in his heels and joining back his friends. Gwen hears murmurs between the men but they leave together, reach their horses, mount them and gallops away.
“What was that, Guinevere?”
“Nothing father … come,” Gwen says and tries to help her father but Tom pulls his hand away from her daughter and shakes his head.
“No … do 你 have any idea what have 你 just done?” he asks. “You just made an impression on the crown prince himself.”
“Let it be, Father … I know what I did and there’s nothing wrong in it.”
“Nothing wrong?” Tom shakes his head and sighs. “Nothing wrong, 你 say? That … what 你 have just done … was, simply stupid, Guinevere!” he adds. “You are aware of Arthur’s way with women, aren’t you? When he looks at someone like he just did 你 … he will get you, no matter what. He will!! I fear for you, Guinevere. I fear what will happen now that he has seen 你 in person. 你 … your defiance was the stupidest thing you’ve done!!”
“I wanted to protect you, Father!”
“And now I fear I may not be able to protect you, Guinevere! Because … that was Arthur Pendragon!!” Tom points at the empty 太空 where the incident has occurred a while ago.
“You were stupid!!”
“Let it be, Father!” Gwen snaps back, stunning her father. She sighs and closes into her father. She wraps her arms around him and embraces him warmly. “I 爱情 you. And I can’t allow anything to happen to you. I was terrified when I saw 你 falling. I thought the horse trampled you, hurting 你 and god knows what else. And that’s why I behaved like an idiot but … I don’t mean anything else. I am sorry.”
“Child,” her father releases her and cups Gwen’s cheek. “I 爱情 you, too, but now that he has seen you, I fear he will pursue you.”
“Father … do 你 trust me?”
“Then stop worrying for me. I will take care of myself and he will not even come near my shadow.”
“Let’s get inside and tend to your wounds, Father. And please stop worrying. I promise nothing will happen to me. Now … let’s get inside. Come,” she persuades her father and helps him into the house.
Tom knows despite the calming words, Gwen herself is afraid. She spoke through her 心 and usually her sharpness lands her into trouble. But she means no harm. But will the prince know that? Tom sighs and hopes nothing will happen after today. He doesn’t care if the king sends for him. It’s the prince he fears. And he has reasons to do so. link