Part 9: link
Queen Guinevere has been bedridden for a week and a half. Despite Gaius’ best efforts, her health has been on a very slow decline for the past seven years. She started sleeping later into the mornings. Her appetite decreased. Her mind is still as sharp as ever and she is still not one to be trifled with, but after a 年 或者 so she would not walk anywhere unescorted for fear of losing her balance and falling. “It’s your heart, Gwen,” Gaius had told her after several days’ worth of testing and study, including involving Merlin and his unique skill set. “It’s very weak. It is working harder than it should for a woman your age.”
“What exactly does that mean, Gaius?” she had asked, strangely calm about the news.
“In simple terms, the 心 pumps blood throughout your body, keeping it alive. Your 心 is… getting lazy. It is too hard for it to do its job, so it doesn’t want to do it anymore.”
“I see…” she said, looking down at her hands. “Is that why my hands and feet are always so cold?”
“Could be. If your blood is having trouble getting to them, they would be cold.”
“Gwen, 你 seem very… calm about this,” Gaius noted, curious.
“Is there anything that 你 can do?” she asked knowingly.
“Not really,” he admitted.
“Then there’s no sense in wailing and tearing my hair out over it, is there?”
“No, Gaius. I will not ask that of him again. It takes too much from him.”
“He would do it for you.”
“I know that. All the 更多 reason why I don’t want him to. He need not risk his own life for mine.”
“You are the queen,” Gaius reminded her.
“And he is a great sorcerer. I will not place greater value on one life over another, Gaius. 你 know this about me,” she chided gently.
“I do,” he nodded. “And that is one of the reasons why 你 are such a good queen, my lady.”
Leon and Percival have already started taking turns running the council and round 表 meetings. Gwen’s official parchments are brought to her on a tray for her to sign from her bed.
Guinevere, 皇后乐队 of Camelot, is dying.
“Leon, 你 must rule as regent until Llacheu is of age. 你 are the only one who can. 你 are the only one I trust to do this. I want 你 and Mithian to be his guardians.” She places the 密封 in Leon’s palm, closing his long-fingered hand around it, both her hands on either side of his fist.
“We will take good care of him, my lady. We will treat him like one of our own,” Leon promises softly.
A 年 after Leon had declared himself to Guinevere, Princess Mithian returned to Camelot for a visit. It was right around the prince’s sixth birthday, and Leon and Percival and some of the other knights were going to take him on his first hunting trip. Mithian asked to accompany them on the hunt, even presenting Llacheu with her birthday gift to him: a small crossbow.
Gwen never did find out exactly what happened on that hunt, but when they returned they had three quail, one large 公猪, 野猪 and Leon and Mithian could not keep their eyes off of one another. Gwen supposed that in private, they also could not keep their hands off of one another, because they both seemed to be walking around the 城堡 with ridiculous grins on their faces.
They were married two months later, and Mithian came to live in Camelot, stating that Leon’s duties to the 皇后乐队 were much 更多 important than her duties as third in line to the 王座, 宝座 of Nemeth behind her two older brothers. So she settled in as a very excellent lady-in-waiting to the 皇后乐队 and finally got the deep and cherished 爱情 she had so longed for.
“Gwen, 你 are not dying,” Mithian says, taking her hand. “I understand your need to have things accounted for, but 你 are too young. You’ll get better, I know it.”
Gwen smiles. “Ever so optimistic. My 心 is very weak, Mithian, 你 know this. You’ve heard Gaius. It’s as if my 心 were the 心 of someone much older. It just cannot keep up with me anymore.”
“You are so at peace with this,” Mithian shakes her head in disbelief.
“What choice do I have? There is nothing that can be done.”
“We can send for Merlin,” Leon suggests. “He saved 你 once…”
“No, Leon. 你 may not understand this, but… I don’t want Merlin to heal me again. It takes too much out of him. And besides, I… I think it’s too close to my time. To save me now might have dire consequences for someone else. There’s a rule: a life for a life.”
“Llacheu is the only thing that has kept me alive as long as I have. Had I not found out that I was carrying him so soon after Arthur died…” she pauses, taking a few breaths to catch up, “I likely would have walked into the Lake of Avalon and not looked back.”
“You wouldn’t have,” Leon says, not believing her words.
“I don’t know, Leon, wouldn’t I have? But he is nearly thirteen years old, and… taller than me already,” she chuckles, remembering how keen he always was about getting taller than her. “He still needs me, yes, but… I just…” She closes her eyes.
“Gwen?” Mithian asks, alarmed, leaning over her and clasping her hand again.
“I’m all right,” Gwen sighs. “Just tired.”
“You are ready to be with Arthur,” Mithian realizes finally.
“When he told me about you, when he told me that he could not marry me because of you…” Mithian starts.
“I am sorry for that,” Gwen says.
“Don’t be; I’m not. I was hurt, initially, yes, but then I became curious. I desperately wanted to know who it was that had so completely ensnared his heart, that even in banishment he could not consider another.”
“So 你 know about that? The banishment?”
“Leon has told me, yes. It must have been awful.”
“It was,” Gwen says, elaborating no further. She doesn’t need to know the real truth about the betrayal. There’s no point now.
“I can’t believe we’re only just now talking about this,” she adds with a small chuckle.
“Funny, isn’t it? But then when I met 你 for the first time, I so wanted to dislike you. To be cold, petty. 你 know, like a normal Lady would be,” she jokes, and Gwen chuckles a little. They often joke about the fact that neither one of them are what one would consider a normal
Lady. “But then I met 你 and 你 were so kind, so… free from any rancor 或者 ill will, and 你 could have treated me horribly for trying to marry your beloved Arthur.”
“It was not your fault, 你 did not know. Besides, what would the point in that be?” Gwen asks softly.
Mithian smiles. “And then I saw the two of 你 together, saw how he loved and trusted you. The 爱情 你 shared was almost a tangible thing, a… a bubble around the two of you. And I knew that he had made the right decision in turning me away. Yes, I was jealous, but I wasn’t jealous of you. I was jealous of what the two of 你 had.”
“And now 你 have it,” Gwen says, looking up at Leon. “And that is precisely why I want 你 to be Llacheu’s guardians. He loves 你 like family already anyway.”
“We are honored, Gwen,” Mithian says. “And he loves our little Edeva like a sister anyway,” she adds, smiling with the thought of their four-year-old daughter.
“And Percival and Lorelle have their hands full already,” Leon chuckles. “What are they up to now, five?”
“All boys, too. I daresay he’s singlehandedly making certain that Camelot will have plenty of big, strong knights for years to come,” Gwen says, laughing a little, but the laughter turns quickly to coughing, and she sits up, pressing her handkerchief over her mouth. It comes away with a few drops of blood on it, but no one makes mention.
There is a soft knock at the door, and Gwen nods, so Leon bids them enter, knowing Gwen cannot raise her voice. Llacheu slips quietly in, closing the door gently behind him.
“How is she?” he asks Leon quietly.
“A little worse, I think,” Leon answers, his eyes sad.
“She’s also right here and can hear you,” Gwen says tiredly.
“We’ll go now, give 你 some time with your son,” Mithian says, standing and taking Leon’s hand, leading him gently from the room.
“Llacheu, my love,” Gwen smiles at her son, on the cusp of manhood, already taller than his mother, his muscles just starting to gain definition, his voice recently deeper.
“I was just in the gardens with Gaius, and I saw the lavender was blooming, so I brought 你 some,” he says, brandishing a bunch of lavender. She motions for him to bring it closer and he obliges, holding it down so she can smell it.
“Mmm, thank you,” she sighs.
He places the bunch on the table, forages around the room until he finds something to put it in, returning with a tin mug. “Good enough,” he declares, pouring some water in and putting the 花 in, setting it on her bedside table. Gwen watches him, noting that he is already starting to 移动 with the same easy, masculine grace that his father possessed, no doubt built from so much sword training.
“I’ll have 你 know I risked my life to bring 你 those flowers,” he says, sitting in the chair recently vacated 由 Mithian.
“Come up here, Love,” Gwen pats the bed. He crawls up and she weakly attempts to pull him into her arms. He gets the idea and cuddles against her, his head on her shoulder, reaching up to touch her 项链 once, just out of habit. “How did 你 risk your life, exactly?”
“It was covered in bees. Big, fuzzy, surprisingly noisy bumblebees,” he says. “I watched them for a bit, listening to Gaius explain what they’re doing. Then I borrowed his 剪, 剪板机 and cut some stems for you. Carefully. Staying away from the bees.”
Gwen chuckles. What is it with Pendragon men and stinging insects? First Arthur and his “wasp” that I’m convinced wasn’t really there, now Llacheu and his killer bumblebees.
“Darling, bumblebees are fairly harmless.”
“Can they sting?”
“Well, yes, but they only do so if 你 attack their nest 或者 if they’re really, really upset. I don’t think 你 had anything to worry about.”
“Sorry,” she chuckles, coughing after. Llacheu looks up at her in slight alarm, but she waves him off. “I didn’t intend to ruin your story of how 你 risked life and limb to bring me flowers.”
“It’s all right. I learned something anyway, so that’s good.”
“It’s a good story, though, 你 should save it and use it again some time. When 你 are older, perhaps on a maiden…” she teases.
“Mother…” he protests mildly. He leans his head on her chest now. “I can hear your heart. It… it sounds like it’s working too hard,” he says suddenly. “Or maybe I just think it does because I know it is,” he sighs.
Gwen raises her hand to her son’s head, toying idly with his curls. She kisses the 最佳, 返回页首 of his head.
“Yes, my love?”
“This is stupid. I’m bigger than you,” he moves, quickly but carefully, and pulls her into his arms now.
Gwen smiles, resting her head on his already-broad shoulder. “Llacheu, when I am gone…”
“I don’t want to talk about that.”
“You’re not talking, I am. 你 are listening.”
“I want 你 to take your father’s crystal. I want 你 to have it. You’ll probably need Uncle’s help to get it, though.”
“The chain has no clasp. I never take it off because I can’t. He made it into a 项链 for me with his magic.”
“You wouldn’t take it off even if 你 could.”
“True.” She closes her eyes. “Listen to me now.”
“Leon and Mithian are going to be your guardians.”
“Just listen. I know 你 don’t want to hear any of this, but 你 need to.”
“Leon will be in charge until 你 are of age. I’ve already 给 him the royal 密封 because I cannot rule even now. 你 will listen to him and Mithian. I know they’re not me, but they know me well and know my wishes.”
“Why can’t Uncle be my guardian?”
“Because Uncle cannot seem to keep his backside in one place for any amount of time,” Gwen sighs. “And her already has Sefa and a dragon to worry about. And Gaius is too old. You’d be the death of him.”
Llacheu laughs a little, because he knows it to be true.
“Now, this is the important part,” Gwen says. “When 你 marry, do so for love. There will be people trying to tell 你 that 你 should choose a wife for political purposes, for alliances, for strategy. Do not listen to them. We are a united Albion now, so hopefully there won’t be a need for such antiquated practices. If 你 fall in 爱情 with a princess, then marry a princess. If 你 fall in 爱情 with a maid…”
“Like 你 were,” he interrupts.
“Yes, like I was, then marry her. I can’t promise it will be all roses, but if the 爱情 is true, then it is worth it.”
“How… how will I know if it is true?”
“What does it feel like?”
“Always full of questions,” she says, looking up at him a moment. “It is both the most wonderful and most painful thing in the world, often simultaneously.”
“It feels so lovely that it hurts. When 你 are with your love, 你 feel whole. Complete. Like part of 你 that 你 didn’t realize was gone had been returned to you. When 你 are apart, it feels like your 爱情 has taken your 心 along with, leaving 你 with a hole right here,
” she pokes his chest.
“Wow. That’s how 你 feel about Father?”
“And he about me, yes. I wish that kind of 爱情 for you, my son. Though hopefully without the obstacles your father and I had to overcome to be together, obviously.”
“Like your grandfather, yes. Oh, speaking of – did 你 get your things moved?”
“About done. Everything’s in. I just need to figure out where I want everything. Grandfather’s rooms are so big.
“Well, he was the king. And 你 will be, too, one day.”
“I think I need 更多 stuff.”
“You always think 你 need 更多 stuff,” Gwen mutters, closing her eyes again.
“Mum, 你 need to rest,” he says, slipping out from beneath her and tucking the blanket up over her shoulder. “Are 你 warm enough?”
“Mmm-hmm,” she nods, not opening her eyes.
Llacheu bends down and kisses her cheek. “Love you, Mum.”
“I 爱情 you, my Llacheu.”
“Don’t use that tone with me, Arthur, I’ve been telling 你 for years now.”
“You need to stay alive.”
“I can’t anymore. I told you: Gaius 说 that my 心 is less healthy than his, and he’s got to be 200 years old!”
Arthur laughs in spite of himself, and wraps her in his arms. “It’s too soon.”
“Llacheu will be well taken care of. So will Camelot,” she whispers. “I’ve got everything in place.”
“You won’t reconsider asking Merlin for help?” he tries again.
“No. I’m too far gone, Arthur. Someone else may have to pay the price for my life, and I cannot have that on my conscience.”
“I’m so torn,” Arthur finally admits, his cheek coming to rest on the 最佳, 返回页首 of her head. “I’ve always been torn. Selfish Arthur wants to whisk 你 through that door,” he nods behind him, “into Avalon and make up for thirteen years of 迷失 time. Noble Arthur wants to order your beautiful backside back to Camelot and tell 你 to go finish being 皇后乐队 until 你 are old and gray and Llacheu is on the throne.”
“I don’t think it is your choice, Love,” Gwen says, tilting her head up to 吻乐队（Kiss） his neck.
“My lady?” Lily touches Gwen’s shoulder lightly. “My lady?” she calls louder, prodding a little less gently. “Oh no…” she gasps, running to the door. “Sir… Sir Knight,” she says to the guard outside, not knowing his name. “I cannot wake the queen! Where is Gaius?”
“I will fetch him immediately,” the guard says, taking off down the corridor. “I just wish, for Llacheu…” Arthur says.
“I do, too. He’s an amazing boy, Arthur, and I’m not just saying this because I’m his mother. Everyone loves him. He has your charisma.”
“And your charm,” Arthur says, 接吻 her forehead, “and your kindness,” he kisses her cheek, “and your wisdom.”
“And a touch of your arrogance and temper at times,” Gwen says, smiling against Arthur’s lips.
“You told him to take this?” Arthur asks quietly, reaching down and touching her 项链 much in the same way Llacheu did earlier that same day.
“Yes. He would probably insist on it anyway, but I wanted to make sure that he got it.”
“He’s taller than 你 now?”
“Arthur, he was as tall as me when 你 last saw him,” Gwen reminds him. Llacheu had asked to see his father again for his tenth birthday present, saying he did not want anything else.
“That’s right,” Arthur grins. “My tiny bride.”
“Her time is fast approaching, I’m afraid,” Gaius says. “Sir Leon, where is Sir Percival? He will want to be here.”
“No doubt having 晚餐 with his family,” Leon says. “I will have him sent for.” He walks to the chamber doors and speaks to the guards outside, dispatching one of them to Percival’s house before quickly returning to the queen’s bedside. He holds Mithian tightly, and she is not sure if it is to support her 或者 himself. “Arthur,” Gwen whispers, “I can see your door again.”
Arthur sighs and squeezes her tighter. Gwen feels his breathing grow unsteady and she realizes that he’s crying. Crying over her death.
“Don’t cry, Love,” she says, tears welling in her own eyes now. “You know that if 你 cry, I cry.”
“I’m so confused. I’m crying because you’re dying. Your beautiful light that was finally there for all to see is getting extinguished too early. But I’m also crying because I finally get to be with 你 for all eternity.”
“Selfish Arthur,” she says, smiling at him, trying to stop his tears. She notices the light shifting, and turns to look behind her. “My door is closing.”
“I can see it,” Arthur says, burying his face in her hair, tucking it into her neck. “You still smell the same as always,” he says, almost absentmindedly, inhaling deeply. “My 最喜爱的 scent ever: the sweet smell of my wife’s neck.”
“You don’t feel cold anymore,” Gwen says.
“Are 你 afraid?”
“No. Just… hold me. Please.”
Arthur holds her gently but securely to his chest, waiting, watching as the door to the world of the living slowly closes.
There is a faint click.
Arthur’s chest heaves in a single, silent sob, and then he releases his breath, shakily.
After what could either be moments 或者 hours, Arthur loosens his grip on her and looks down at her. Gwen reaches up, wipes his cheeks with her thumbs, and kisses his lips lightly.
Without a word, he sweeps her up into his arms, kisses her deeply, and carries her through the door, into the lush green of Avalon beyond.
“Thirteen years to make up for, my love…” he says, his voice a seductive promise.
“She’s… smiling,” Leon gasps. “Is she…”
Gaius leans in and touches Gwen’s neck gently, feeling for a pulse. “No. She’s gone,” he whispers, turning to face the young prince and seeing silent tears streaming down the boy’s face. Llacheu gives Gaius a very small, very regal, very mature nod.
Leon looks down at the royal 密封 in his palm, a tear slipping from his eye, his queen’s final request to him ringing in his ears. “Leon, 你 must rule as regent until Llacheu is of age. 你 are the only one who can. 你 are the only one I trust to do this. I want 你 and Mithian to be his guardians.”
He puts the 密封 on his finger and reaches over to take his wife’s hand again. Mithian is weeping softly into a handkerchief.
“She’s smiling because she’s with Arthur again,” Merlin’s voice from the doorway startles them all, and they all spin and face him.
“Uncle,” Llacheu chokes, running to Merlin, who hugs him.
“You’ve gotten so big,” Merlin whispers. He releases his crying godson and goes to Gaius, squeezing his shoulder.
“Merlin,” Gaius greets him. He has learned to never be surprised at when his former ward may appear.
“You are getting gray,” Gaius comments.
“And 你 are getting bald,” Merlin shoots back.
“Where is Sefa?” Gaius asks quietly.
“With Aithusa, in the clearing where I used to meet Kilgarrah,” he says. He looks down at Gwen and sighs. “Still as beautiful as ever. She never seemed to age,” he whispers, seeing not a single gray hair on her head as he strokes her cheek with his finger, the skin still firm and soft. But cold now, cold as stone.
“I’ve just heard, am I…?” Percival pushes into the room now, skidding to a stop when he sees their faces. “I’m too late,” he exhales, looking down at Gwen.
“I’m sorry, Percival,” Merlin says, turning.
“Hello, Merlin,” Percival greets the wizard, nodding respectfully at him. “Your highness,” he adds, nodding to Llacheu before quickly turning his face away to wipe an errant tear.
“Sir Percival, thank 你 for coming,” the prince says quietly. “My mother would have appreciated it.”
“Merlin?” Leon asks.
“I’ve come to take Gwen to be with Arthur in Avalon,” Merlin 答案 Leon’s unasked question.
“Good,” Llacheu sniffs, surprising all of them. “She should be with Father,” he nods, his face serious.
Merlin gazes down at the boy, shaking his head in disbelief. Always so serious, so solemn. I hope he has friends, has time for fun.
“You look so like your father, Llacheu, it is almost frightening.”
“Mother used to say that. She would say that except for my skin and hair, I was my father reborn.”
“But with your mother’s wisdom,” Gaius adds, and Leon nods in agreement.
“Uncle,” Llacheu studies his mother’s face, then looks at Merlin. “Will Mother be happy now?”
“Llacheu, your mother wasn’t unhappy,” Merlin explains.
“She was always so sad, though.”
“There is a difference between being sad and being unhappy, Bug. Your mother carried the sadness of loss with her, but she was not an unhappy person. In fact, 你 are the one person, the one thing in this world that could bring her any joy. 你 may carry that with 你 always: The knowledge that 你 were the sun in your mother’s day, the moon in her night.”
Llacheu nods solemnly. “Uncle, her crystal…” he points at the crystal still hanging at her bosom.
fate is up to you,” Merlin says. He leans over and lifts the crystal into his hand, closing his fist around it. He closes his eyes and the chain disappears. Merlin withdraws his hand and opens his fist, holding it down for Llacheu to see.
Resting on his palm are now two crystals, joined side 由 side.
“That’s them? Both now?” Llacheu whispers.
Merlin nods. “I can return this crystal to the cave, 或者 I can entrust it to you. The choice is yours, child.”
“I should like to have it,” Llacheu answers.
“Llacheu, I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” Leon says gently. “What happens if 你 misplace it?”
“Mother wants me to have it! She told me so! And I won’t misplace it, Leon!” Llacheu 答案 sharply, his father’s temper appearing. He sniffs and wipes his face angrily.
“Leon, I can ensure that he won’t lose it,” Merlin says. “But it may sting a little,” he warns the boy.
“Do it,” Llacheu snaps, looking defiantly at Leon.
“It is permanent,” Merlin cautions.
“Even better,” Llacheu lifts his chin. Oh, child, 你 are so your father sometimes,
Merlin thinks, glancing at Gaius to see the old man having much the same thought.
“Perhaps we should wait till morning, 你 know, think about it overnight,” Percival recommends, and Leon nods.
“No,” Llacheu says, “do it now.”
“It’s all right, Percival. Trust me,” Merlin says, glancing reassuringly at Leon as well.
“What do I need to do?” Llacheu says, stepping over.
“Take your 衬衫 off,” Merlin says, and the boy complies immediately.
Merlin puts the twin crystal in his hand and presses his palm to the boy’s chest, over his heart. “Close your eyes,” Merlin says, very softly. “Think of your mother, how much 你 爱情 her. Think of your father, how much 你 would have loved to have known him.”
Llacheu closes his eyes, and a moment later a few fresh tears spring from the corners of his eyes. Merlin closes his own eyes and presses harder, bringing his other hand around, holding the boy’s back. He whispers a few words and his eyes open with a flash, and Llacheu gasps sharply.
“Ow,” he mutters, opening his eyes.
“Sorry,” Merlin says, and withdraws his hand. On the boy’s chest is a black symbol, tattooed over his heart: three dots with three rays extending downward and outward, vaguely triangular.
“Oh…” Llacheu breathes, looking down at it awkwardly, then running to his mother’s vanity to look in her mirror. “Wow, Uncle. Will that be there forever?” he asks, his voice awed.
“Yes,” Merlin says. “You carry your parents’ 爱情 with 你 now, for always.”
“It won’t wash off?” he blinks at it, poking it.
“No. It is part of you.”
“Does this mean that they’ll visit me when I sleep sometimes?” he asks, his eyes hopeful. He doesn’t see the look of realization that passes over Leon’s face as he remembers Gwen telling him that that crystal was Arthur’s heart. I had assumed she misspoke. Perhaps she hadn’t,
“That is up to them,” Merlin says. “Though I can’t imagine your mother will be able to stay away,” he smiles.
“When?” Llacheu asks, still fingering the tattoo on his chest. He doesn’t seem to be interested in putting his 衬衫 back on at all. “Wait, she told me once… she never knew when she would see him. So I guess I should be patient?”
“Yes,” Merlin nods.
“I hate being patient,” Llacheu grumbles.
“That is your father,” Gaius chimes in from the background, and Merlin chuckles, nodding.
“Thank you,” he says, smiling sadly.
The 下一个 morning, the people of Camelot have gathered, lining the streets to see their beloved 皇后乐队 off, to bid her farewell as the mysterious Merlin takes her to Avalon to be with King Arthur.
Her body rests on pillows and 花 petals in a small wagon that will follow Merlin, and she is dressed in her finest gown. Her head is unadorned 由 any circlet 或者 crown, 花 in her hair instead, as she would have preferred. Merlin has a silk sheet with which to shroud and protect her once they are out of the lower town and into the wilderness, but for now, she is uncovered, beautiful and still.
Llacheu approaches the wagon and bends over his mother, 接吻 her forehead. “Go be with Father,” he whispers, “and do not worry about me. I know 你 will be watching me, and I will do 你 proud. I hope to see 你 both soon, when I sleep.”
He straightens up and turns to face Merlin, his glassy blue eyes looking up at him. “You will be coming back?” he asks, but somehow Merlin feels that this is not a request.
“Yes, but I do not know when,” Merlin sighs, cupping the boy’s face in his hand.
“Please, Uncle, 你 must come back after 你 take Mother to Avalon. Come back to stay,” Llacheu says, nearly begging. “Sefa and your dragon can come, too, I don’t care.”
Merlin opens his mouth and inhales as though he is going to answer, but then he gives up and closes his mouth. He feels the boy’s hand clasp his.
“I need you, Merlin,” Llacheu whispers.
Merlin blinks, and something mends in his broken heart. Those are the words I have been missing,
he realizes. He studies the boy, and sees the face of the young prince he encountered in the 街, 街道 nearly twenty-five years ago, just slightly darker and with a mop of unruly brown curls perched over it. “I’ll come back immediately, to stay,” he answers, and a tear slips from the corner of his eye even as he smiles at the prince.
Llacheu hugs him, suddenly and fiercely, then turns back to stand beside Gaius. Merlin turns and starts out from the citadel. He waves his hand and the wagon starts moving. Sir Leon and Sir Percival follow, ever the queen’s royal guards, as Merlin walks slowly from the courtyard and into the lower town.
The people throw 花 and kisses. Most everyone is at least dabbing at their eyes. Merlin turns and looks at Gwen’s empty old house when they pass it to see the front door made impassable 由 the 花 heaped there.
He keeps moving, not stopping until he is well outside of town. He turns and looks at the two knights.
“Thank 你 for protecting her and helping her,” Merlin says simply, waving his hand over the wagon, and the lavender silk covers her now.
“We loved her as much as 你 did, Merlin,” Percival says, the words difficult for him. Leon can only nod, his wet eyes on the form beneath the silk.
“I will be fine from here, thank 你 again,” Merlin says, dismissing them gently.
Merlin,” Leon whispers.
Merlin nods and turns away, taking his friend and his 皇后乐队 to be with her husband and king.
Leon and Percival stand and watch, their eyes fixed on Merlin’s retreating back until they can no longer see him.
An old, lone figure watches from a parked car as she steps out of Starbuck’s, Gingerbread Latte clutched in her left hand, her right hand digging in her large shoulder bag for her car keys, head down.
“Must have fallen to the bottom,” she mutters, her mind on her 圣诞节 shopping.
“Look out!” a male voice shouts, and she feels a strong hand on her elbow, pulling her back from the curb just as she is about to step out.
Out and into the path of a pickup truck that is driving way too fast for a parking lot.
“Oh!” she exclaims, feeling a broad, solid body behind her back. Even through her puffy down-filled 涂层, 外套 she can tell that her hero is in quite good shape.
“That was close,” he says, his hands at her elbows as she turns to face him. “He was going entirely… too… fas…”
“Yes, and I should have been watching… where…”
She looks up. Blue-grey meets translucent brown, and the world around them disappears: the snow, the traffic, the other people. They are aware only of each other and the web of electricity crackling all around them.
At least it seems that way.
“Hi,” she breathes, her shiny glossed lips parting invitingly.
“Hello,” he whispers back, his eyes dropping momentarily to those lips, those luscious, familiar
“I know you,” she says, blinking at him. She notes briefly that his arms are still around her.
He nods his head, just barely, his eyes soft, glowing. He reaches down and strokes her cheek with a single finger. “Guinevere,” he whispers.
She reaches her hand out and gives her latte to a 随意 passerby. “Take me home, Arthur,” she answers.