Arthur is still sprawled on his giường when someone knocks on the door of his chamber. He stirs uneasily and listens. The knocks come again, rapidly. Sighing in annoyance at being disturbed in the morning, he rolls to his back and yawns.
“Who is it?” he calls.
“Merlin,” comes the answer from the other side of the door.
“Hmmph. Come in …” Arthur says, throws the sheets aside, and gets up. He rubs his face when Merlin opens the door and walks in, closing it behind him.
“Good morning Arthur … wow!” Merlin greets as he skips over pillows, tunics, swords and a shield, lying scattered all over the floor. Merlin smiles and turns back towards Arthur. “Busy night?” Merlin asks, lifting his brows mischievously.
“You had a busy night, didn’t you?” Merlin repeats himself and picks up the pillow. He nears Arthur and throws it across the bed.
“I don’t get your …” and then Arthur looks around the chamber for the first time. Everything from his books, shield, sword, and chain mail to his clothing lie scattered all over the floor. He scratches his chin and looks back at Merlin, unable to answer the question. He knows why those things are on the floor and he closes his eyes in regret. It’s not what Merlin thinks. Quite the opposite, in fact. But will his friend understand that?
“So … had fun?” Merlin laughs and sits down.
Arthur knows what Merlin means and he hesitates before sighing and shaking his head.
Merlin’s smile fades. “What do bạn mean bởi that?”
“It means no. Now what is the matter, Merlin? What could bring bạn at this place at such an early hour?”
“Wait, Arthur … stop avoiding my question. If this isn’t a sign bạn spent the night with Gwen, then what is it?”
“Don’t lie to me, Arthur. I am just trying to help … what happened?”
“It’s a long story.”
“Make it short.” Merlin is stubborn. “And I have all the time in the world for this.”
Arthur ponders a while. Should he really confide in Merlin? He is, after all, his best friend. And who else can he tell his miseries if not Merlin? “It’s not like what bạn think, Merlin. We didn’t spend the nights together. Again.”
“Go on …”
Arthur rakes through his hair and bites his lips. “We had an argument yesterday and … I did this.” He points to all the things scattered on the floor. “It’s proof how angry I was last night.” He says and drops back on the bed.
“WHAT? Argument? What nonsense are bạn blabbering about, Arthur? What argument is this?” Merlin is annoyed and confused at the same time. He knows both Gwen and Arthur are hot headed but he didn’t expect them to argue right after their wedding. He wonders what happened now.
“Obviously, now stop dragging the question!” Merlin gets up to his feet and walks towards the bed, bends and grabs Arthur bởi the shoulder and with all his strength, he pulls him up. “Tell me now hoặc I shall ask this all day!” Merlin threatens.
“Calm down, Merlin.” Arthur pushes his friend’s hand away and looks him directly in his face. “I don’t know whose fault it is, but I believe I played thêm of a role in it than Guinevere.”
“Why am I not surprised?”
“Listen … she had a visit from her friend today and I wasn’t completely on my best behaviour in his presence.”
“His? It’s a male friend then?” Merlin asks.
Arthur nods. “Gwaine is his name.”
“Gwaine? I know him. A good fellow …” Merlin smiles and then his smile fades as Arthur keeps glaring at him.
“Do bạn want to know what happened hoặc not?” Arthur asks, clearly annoyed at being interrupted.
“Sorry … go on.”
“Guinevere was talking with him and I joined them. But my presence seemed to make both of them nervous and uneasy. And in the end he left. But his departure left Guinevere fuming at me. She blamed me for his departure and đã đưa ý kiến that I was jealous of him. Of course it isn’t true, but she refused to listen to me and left. And last night, she refused to spend the night with me again because she feels I was not in the right state of mind, and I believe that is one stupid reason!”
“And bạn bickered because of that?”
“She pushed me to my limits, Merlin. She made me lose my patience with her and I … đã đưa ý kiến …”
“Something that hurt her?”
“It was in the heat of the moment … I didn’t want to say it, but …”
“What did bạn say, Arthur?” Merlin is frustrated.
Arthur keeps quiet and looks away.
“She asked why was I so keen on the spending the night with her and I đã đưa ý kiến I needed her. I đã đưa ý kiến I wanted her body!”
“ARTHUR!” Merlin’s eye widens and he stares at his friend, stunned.
“I know, I know … it was … unexpected. I didn’t think … I don’t know what to think at all. It came out unexpectedly; I couldn’t stop it. I wish I had đã đưa ý kiến things differently, but I was angry, Merlin, I was really angry!” Arthur explains and buries his face in his hands.
“That was stupid, Arthur, dumb and stupid!” Merlin shakes his head. “How could bạn … why didn’t bạn use your brain before bạn spoke, Arthur? Why?”
“I know Merlin, I know, I hurt her. I feel … really bad!”
“Of course bạn did, genius!! Of course she is broken bởi those words. What did bạn expect?” Merlin snaps again. “And what did she do to you?”
“She chased me out of her chamber, which explains why mine is like this …” Arthur points to the floor.
“This is … insane. Why on earth would bạn say something like that? What must she think of you? Oh Arthur!!! I thought bạn to be smarter!”
“She can think what she wants Merlin, I don’t care,” Arthur says blatantly.
Merlin gapes at Arthur, shocked bởi his friend’s reaction. “What do bạn mean bạn don’t care Arthur? She is your wife! Of course bạn care.”
“Then she should hiển thị me some respect too, not just me Merlin!” Arthur barks at Merlin, startling the latter. “She had been disrespectful to me, too …”
“She was angry because Gwaine left and she thinks I am jealous of him. She refuses to acknowledge my reasons and fails to respect me as her husband. She defies me and challenged to come to her and apologize, which I find pretty ridiculous.”
“I don’t think it’s ridiculous, Arthur.”
Arthur looks up at Merlin and scoffs. “Of course you’ll back her up. You’ve been on her good sách all the while and you’ll always support her!” Arthur snaps. “I don’t even know why am I wasting my time telling bạn all this when at the end of this conversation, you’ll still back her up.”
“That is not true, Arthur.” Merlin shakes his head.
“Then say I am right for a change,” Arthur challenges Merlin.
“I can’t, because bạn are still wrong!” Merlin says.
Arthur pounds the giường angrily. “See … I told bạn I am wasting my time confiding in bạn when I know I won’t get the support I need. I should have known better.”
“Arthur … stop being a child, will you?” Merlin scolds. “First and foremost, I am your friend first and then hers. I support her because I feel she’s right. And most of the time she is, but that doesn’t mean I’ll abandon you, Arthur. But I believe Gwen has a reason for being rude to bạn … why not think of the matter rather than jumping into a hasty conclusion about her?”
“What do bạn mean, Merlin?”
“Did bạn do anything else Arthur? Had bạn upset her in another way apart from those words bạn đã đưa ý kiến to her?”
Arthur looks away.
“If bạn want my support, better be out with the truth, Arthur.”
“Fine …” Arthur says and sighs. “I … sort of acted intimately with Guinevere in Gwaine’s presence.”
“Guinevere’s my wife so I just held her close and … nibbled her ears … a bit … in her friend’s presence. That irked her and that’s probably the reason why she was fuming at me. I just don’t understand why she’d be so furious at something as petty as that.”
“She is embarrassed, Arthur … remember, she isn’t one of your mistresses. She’s a simple village girl who is still trying to adapt to this life. And thêm than that, she’s innocent and bạn should be mindful of that. What bạn did was …” Merlin shakes his head. “No wonder she is angry at you.”
“Look, I didn’t mean it …”
“Then why do it Arthur? Don’t tell me that bạn had no intention of hurting Gwaine because in my opinion, that’s exactly why bạn did it. She is right … bạn are jealous of him …” Merlin nods. And when Arthur keeps silent, he repeats, “You are jealous, Arthur.”
“Fine!! I am!!” Arthur shouts at Merlin and picks the only remaining cái gối, gối on the giường and throws it on the floor. “I am, so what? She is my wife and the thought of her being happy with another man except me is just … abhorrent!! And Gwaine is …”
“Kind and good to her?”
“She is so happy with him,” Arthur’s voice drops. “And to think he can make her smile while I can’t … hurts so much.”
“Arthur …” Merlin walks towards Arthur and sits beside him, draping his arm around the his friend. “I understand how much she means to bạn … and bạn can bluster on about how bạn don’t tình yêu her. This … this is proof that bạn tình yêu her, so stop denying it. bạn acted rather stupid because of your affection for her. But nothing is Mất tích … all bạn both need to do is talk. I mean really sit down and talk. What’s lacking with both of bạn is proper communication.”
“And do bạn think she’ll listen to me?”
“You won’t know anything unless bạn try, Arthur, and stop being so negative minded! Just give it a try.” Merlin slaps Arthur’s shoulder.
“Well, I think bạn need to tell her this as well.”
“Don’t worry, I will …” Merlin says. “I will try to talk to her and find out her point of view but I will still support her, Arthur, just to let bạn know, because bạn have been stupid.”
“Whatever, Merlin …” Arthur sighs.
“What is that suppose to mean?”
“Nothing …” Arthur responds nonchalantly but Merlin knows deep down what it is.
“Fine. I’ll go and meet Gwen …” Merlin hardly got to finish his words when someone knocks impatiently on Arthur’s door. Arthur and Merlin exchange looks with one another.
The knocks comes in again.
“Who is it?” Arthur asks.
“Crowley, Sire,” comes the answer from the other side of the door.
“What is it, Crowley? I thought I đã đưa ý kiến not to be disturbed!”
“This is a matter of urgency, sir.”
“Fine … come in,” Arthur says.
The door opens and the knight steps in, bowing in respect to Arthur and Merlin.
“What is it?” Arthur asks, raking his hair.
“The king asks your presence at the ngôi vua, ngai vàng room immediately, Sire.”
“It’s a matter of urgency, Sire. The princess is missing. The king is awaiting your presence.”
“Missing?” Arthur is up on his feet. His face stricken with fear and his hands rolled up into fists. “What do bạn mean, missing?”
“The princess hasn’t been found in the lâu đài this morning, Sire,” Crowley informs.
Arthur’s face turns pale and he looks at Merlin. “Missing?” he repeats.
“Hurry, Arthur,” Merlin presses as Arthur rushes to his wardrobe.
Uther paces the dais to and fro furiously with his hands behind his back. Beside him, Katrina sits on the ngôi vua, ngai vàng but she, too, looks pale and scared. There is fear on both the king and the queen’s faces. The door opens and Arthur strides in with Merlin alongside him. He looks angry and Merlin has to occasionally jog to keep up with Arthur.
“What happened?” Arthur asks as soon he nears his parents, without giving any respect.
Uther stops in his stride and looks at Arthur. “I was expecting bạn to tell me.” The king’s voice isn’t pleased.
“I don’t understand…”
“She’s your wife, Arthur! bạn have to explain her absence, not us!” Uther snaps furiously.
Arthur is taken back bởi his father’s sudden rage. But he controls himself. “I don’t know,” he says genuinely. He doesn’t know about Gwen’s whereabouts hoặc why is she missing from the castle. And like the king, he, too is plagued with worry and fear for his wife’s safety.
“You don’t know? What do bạn mean bởi bạn don’t know? Care to explain?” Uther asks again, his hands on his hips now.
“Uther …” Katrina starts but Uther stops her with a look. He turns back to face Arthur. “I’m waiting, Arthur.”
Arthur bites his lip. “I don’t know where she is now, but last night she was in her chamber.”
“Something happened between bạn both?” Uther asks again.
“Hmm, nothing at all. We were fine.” Arthur lies.
“Are bạn sure? Because no one has seen her this morning. The doors to her chamber are undisturbed, there are no signs of a fight within the chamber, and the room itself looks exceptionally clean and in good order. No theft of her belongings has taken place. Yet she is missing. The stable boy tells me one of the ngựa is missing from the stable, indicating she must have left with a horse hoặc was taken away with one. Who ever took her hoặc even if she has left on her own, bạn will have to answer, Arthur Pendragon, because this is your wife we are talking about!”
“This is madness!” Arthur snaps back.
“Come again?” Uther asks stepping down from the dais and closing in Arthur. “Are bạn not satisfied with her Arthur? I spoke to the girl yesterday and she was fine. But now I get news that she is missing. I am just curious about what could have triggered such an event,” Uther says angrily. “And with your reputation … I don’t think I need to câu hỏi anyone else!”
“I think its unfair to blame it on me when I have nothing to do with her disappearance! I am worried about my wife, too, and I’ll leave to look for her instantly. And I give bạn my word that I will not return until I have found her. This is a promise. And when she is here, bạn can ask her why she left in the first place.”
“Arthur?” Katrina voices in concern.
“I’m sorry, Mother, but I cannot tolerate when someone keeps blaming me for another’s behaviour. I will bring Guinevere back and bạn can find out why she left in the first place.”
“Do that first!” Uther says and turns around.
“Come on, Merlin,” Arthur says and leaves, furiously.
Gwen dismounts her horse and sighs. The small house in front of her looks extremely sad and alone. The front looks dirty and unkempt and the clothes on the lines are still dirty as if they haven’t been taken off for days. There are dried leaves and dirt clusters bởi the front door. The windows are still down and no smoke is seen from the chimney meaning her father didn’t do any cooking today. Gwen’s tim, trái tim sinks as she thinks about her father. She misses him desperately and wishes he is at trang chủ so that she can run to him, hug him and cry her tim, trái tim out. Sniffing, she lifts her skirts slightly and walks to the house. She didn’t bother to tie the horse. She doesn’t even care if the horse wanders away hoặc runs off. She might need it to go back again, but that isn’t in her mind right now. She misses her father and she needs him. That’s why she is here today. That’s why she took the big risk of leaving the lâu đài without notifying anyone, not even her husband, and left alone. Gwen sighs as she recalls her big decision to leave the lâu đài this morning. After her argument with Arthur, she’d been thinking about her father. She wanted to see him, talk, and cry her tim, trái tim out with him. But she knew if she told Arthur he would forbid her hoặc insist on coming along with her. She wants to be alone with her father and after what happened with Arthur and her, the last thing she needs is him tagging along. So she decided to leave alone. It might be dangerous and the king will not be pleased bởi what she has done but she doesn’t care. She wants her father and not even the king can stop her. She might have to answer the king and Queen and Arthur for her bold decision later, but that can wait. First, she needs to see her father.
Gwen raises her hand to knock but stops and presses her hand against the door instead. The door creaks back, swinging open. Gwen swallows and steps inside, lifting her áo choàng to prevent her from stepping on it. She steps fully inside and looks around. It is dark and filled with some sort of weird stench, like a dead animal. She covers her nose and walks to the window and opens it up, allowing fresh air to come in. She then picks up the scattered things on the floor one bởi one and sets them on the table. The house could use some sweeping. She removes her gloves, sets them on the table, and goes to where she usually keeps her broom. She takes it out and starts sweeping.
“Arthur! Slow down!” Merlin shouts as he tries to keep up with his friend.
Arthur ignores him and continues to stride forward. They were in the market and Arthur guesses Gwen might be here as he has seen her shopping here often, when he stalked her. But after spending half an giờ in the market, searching for Guinevere, he still hasn’t spotted her. He sighs and comes to a sudden halt. Merlin catches up with him.
Panting to catch his breath, he clutches his stomach. “You … bạn … have … bạn …” Merlin is unable to finish his words.
“She is not here, Merlin.” Arthur completes it for him.
“Guinevere … she is not here. I was wrong.” Arthur says and bites his lip.
“Why did bạn think she might be here?” Merlin asks, licking his lips.
“Because this was one of her favourite places …” Arthur says and turns around.
“Hey, where are bạn going?” Merlin shouts as he runs after Arthur.
“We haven’t much time, Merlin; we have to look for her somewhere else. Come on.” Arthur walks towards where their ngựa were tied. But Merlin sprints and cuts Arthur, coming to a stop just in front of him. He stops Arthur and pants.
“Merlin, what are bạn …”
“Look, Arthur, I understand bạn are concerned about your wife. I am, too, but why do bạn keep thinking she has ran away? What if she’s been abducted? Any possibility?”
“Why wouldn’t she run away, Merlin?”
“I don’t know, Arthur. bạn tell me,” Merlin argues. “If bạn are dead serious that she left the lâu đài on her own wishes, then tell me why?”
“I believe it has something to do with last night, Merlin. And that’s why I think she hasn’t be abducted. She has gone on her own. I am sure of that,” Arthur says, looking around. “She has gone to clear her mind. And now I don’t even know where to look for her!”
“Fine … if that is the case, put yourself in her shoes and try to think like her. If you’d been in the same situation, what would bạn do and where would bạn go?” Merlin asks.
“I don’t know, Merlin …”
“Come on Arthur … think.”
“Hmm, I would have gone to the tavern …”
“That’s you. This is Gwen we are speaking about. Try to think what she would do. What matters the most to her?”
Suddenly Arthur’s eyes widen. He looks at Merlin in shock. “Her father. She dotes on her father thêm than anything in the world. She must have gone to see him.”
“Then what are we waiting for … let’s go!” Merlin says happily.
Gwen finishes with the last of the washing when the door opens and her father walks in, looking tired and worn out. But the moment his eyes rest on Gwen, he brightens up. He drops his sack on the floor and rushes to meet her. Gwen rushes to him as well and both father and daughter hug each other with tears of happiness. Tom rakes Gwen hair and plants a longing Kiss on her forehead.
“Guinevere, dear … what a pleasant surprise! I am so pleased to see bạn …” he says as he takes a good look at her. But the moment he notices how dirty and wet her áo choàng is, his smile fades. “Guinevere … what have bạn been doing? Why are bạn covered with dirt? And your áo choàng … oh my.” Then he looks around the house. It’s clean and back to how it was when she was still living with him, before her marriage to Arthur. Guinevere had cleaned the entire house!
“Have bạn been …”
“Father, I am so glad bạn are home. Come, sit down please. I’ll make bạn something hot,” she cuts him short and leads him to the bàn but Tom stops her.
“Guinevere … what is going on?”
“What do bạn mean, Father?”
“Why bạn are here and why are bạn doing all this work?” he then looks around as if searching for someone. “And where is Arthur?” he asks. Gwen’s face darkens at the mention of his name and she pouts, in annoyance. “Didn’t your husband come along with you? And I don’t see any guards as well …”
“I came alone, Father,” Gwen’s voice drops.
“Alone? Without your guards …”
“I came to see you, Father, and I don’t need anyone escorting me,” Gwen argues. “Is it wrong to visit my own father?”
“Guinevere … listen. bạn are no thêm a blacksmith’s daughter. bạn are the crowned prince’s wife, the princess and future Queen of Camelot. bạn can’t just come visiting me on your own. bạn need your guards, your husband bởi your side … this isn’t the way it works.”
“Father!!” Gwen pushes his hands aside and steps back, frustrated. “I can’t believe I am hearing this from you. I came to see bạn because I missed bạn and I need bạn right now. And I don’t have to have anyone’s permission to do so because bạn are my father!” Gwen is annoyed. Why is her father reacting the same as everyone else? Was it wrong for her to visit him? Doesn’t he appreciate what she did for him? hoặc is he afraid of Arthur?
“Sweetheart … that’s not what I mean. Things are not the same in the lâu đài as it been here. There are protocols, guidelines, regulations that bạn need to follow and bạn can’t just come to see me on your own as bạn like, no matter how desperate bạn are. It’s just not safe,” Tom tries to rationalize with Gwen. But he knows how stubborn Guinevere is and she isn’t listening to him.
“And is that why bạn didn’t come to see me?”
“I tình yêu you, Father and I missed you.” Tears wells up in Gwen’s eyes. “Haven’t bạn missed me?
“Missed you? I am Mất tích without you, Guinevere. Take a look at this house. See how dark it is without bạn … I have never felt so Mất tích in my life as I do now. The darkness here resembles how dark my tim, trái tim is without you.”
“And so is mine …” Gwen rushes back to her father and hugs him, crying.
“I understand it isn’t easy for you, dear …”
“I don’t want to go back, Father. Let me stay here with you. I want to be your daughter again. I don’t need anything hoặc anyone except bạn … please don’t ask me to leave. Please don’t let me leave!!” Gwen blurts out, frightening her father.
Tom pushes Gwen back and looks into his daughter’s eyes, concerned bởi what he just heard. “What is wrong, Guinevere?” he asks, clipping her chin.
“Nothing, Father,” she lies, looking down on the floor.
“Gwen … don’t lie to me … I am your father. Something is wrong, hoặc bạn wouldn’t be asking to not go back. Has Arthur been …”
“I hate him, Father! Why did bạn have to make me your wager? Why couldn’t bạn win hoặc fight him! I hate him and I don’t want to go back to him!” Gwen cries as she clutches her father’s hands in hers. She has been cooping up her feelings and emotions since last night, when she heard from his own mouth where she stands with him. And she didn’t want to reason with him hoặc see him anymore. She wants her life back and she doesn’t care how her father does it, but she wants to be her father’s daughter and not the princess and wife to an idiot prince.
“I can’t live with him anymore. Please Father, lets leave this place. Just bạn and me. I don’t want to live here anymore, with Arthur hoặc in the lâu đài … let’s go, please. Don’t allow me to go back with him hoặc to the lâu đài anymore!”
Tom is surprised, stunned and shocked all in one as he listens to his daughter. “Guinevere … calm down. What happened?”
Gwen wipes her tears off and sobs. Should she tell her father what happened last night? What Arthur really thinks of her? What will her father do when he finds out? Isn’t he troubled bởi her marriage to Arthur already? Should she trouble him further with her problems?
“I don’t like him.” She makes it short.
“And that’s why? That’s your reason?” Tom isn’t surprised bởi her statement because no one in Camelot likes Arthur.
“I never liked him, Father, bạn know that … I can’t live with him … he’s … he’s …” Gwen pounds her fist against her father’s chest, controlling her temper.
“Guinevere, he is your husband. And I understand he isn’t what bạn thought him to be but if there is one person who can change him, that’s you.”
“Father, he is an idiot! He doesn’t listen to anyone and he the most arrogant, self-centered, selfish donkey I have ever seen! No way can I change him hoặc will he change, not for anyone! He is a donkey through and through!”
“Guinevere, he is the prince …”
“He could be the king and I’d still say the same thing, Father! He can take the ngôi vua, ngai vàng and rule like he wishes without me. I am pretty sure he can find a good replacement for me. I just can’t live with him, that is for sure.”
Tom sighs. He understands his daughter’s frustration and he wishes the time could be reversed so that he can undo his mistake. But what’s done is done and there is nothing he can do to fix it. Now it is all upon his daughter’s hands, but even she has được trao up hope. He feels bad for Gwen. He certainly didn’t want his daughter to pay the price for his mistake.
“Father, I know what bạn are going to say. But I am not going back.” Gwen removes herself from his grip and walks to the bàn and sits down, crossing her hands across her chest. “No way!”
Tom watches Gwen intently. He knows his daughter well and something else is troubling her, not just the marriage to Arthur. But she isn’t telling him. Tom doesn’t know why but she is probably feeling on the fence right now. But knowing Guinevere, he knows she will not be able to hold on to her secret much longer. She needs to talk to someone and before she opens her mouth, Tom wants to ask the câu hỏi himself. “Tell me what happened, Gwen. I am sure that there is thêm that bạn are not telling me.”
Gwen keeps quiet. “Come on, Guinevere … bạn cannot keep this from me much longer,” Tom tries again.
Gwen sighs and wipes her tears. “He married me for my … to … satisfy his lust, Father. That’s why he tricked bạn to wager me. He wants me in his giường and that’s all.”
“And that’s why it hurts so much, Father. To know bạn are being used and not respected … I feel cheap.” Gwen wipes her tears again as her tim, trái tim chokes back the pain she feels.
Tom comes to sit beside and takes her in his arms. “Gwen … I am so sorry.”
“I am sorry too, Father … if only I didn’t speak to him on the ngày he knocked bạn over, all this could have been spared. All this is my mistake … mine alone,” Gwen says in between her tears.
“How dare he treat bạn … he promised, Guinevere. He promised me …” Tom says, remembering the promise Arthur made on the ngày he married Gwen. “Let’s go to the castle. I need to meet the king and I’ll confront Arthur.”
“No, Father … I don’t want to go back there. I want to be with you, here.”
“No, bạn can’t, Guinevere. bạn are the prince’s wife and even if bạn don’t like it, that’s the fact. I may have to agree with this but I will not let that husband of yours to treat bạn like dirt. I may only be a blacksmith but we have dignity and pride. And no one can step on us as they like, prince hoặc not. I need to have a good word with your husband … come on, let’s go.”
“Father, please … let me stay here a while. I don’t want to go there now,” Gwen pleads and Tom feels sorry for his daughter. He understands her misery and wishes he can do something to ease her pain. He rakes her hair and kisses her temple again.
“I am sorry, sweetheart,” he says as he holds her close. “I am so sorry for bringing this upon you.”
“No Father, it’s not your fault but mine. I did this and I should shoulder the blame.” Gwen cries, burying her face against her father’s chest.
Tom doesn’t know how to console his daughter. He simply holds her close and strokes her hair.
Arthur spots Guinevere’s horse straying a yard from Tom’s house. He dismounts his own horse and rushes to take the reins and ties it to the nearby tree. The horse neighs but Arthur pays little attention to it and searches for Gwen. There isn’t any sight of her.
“That’s her horse?” Merlin asks, joining Arthur.
“This is one of the ngựa from the stable, that I can tell, but did Guinevere get here with it, that’s the puzzle we need to solve. She isn’t anywhere within sight but that’s her house. She might be in there …” Arthur starts to walk towards the house.
“Hey, where are bạn going?” Merlin shouts.
“To the house …” Arthur points towards the horse in front of them and continues to head there.
“Wait up …” Merlin shouts back and runs after Arthur.
Arthur was up to the house within phút and without waiting to knock, he pushes the door back and steps inside.
“Arthur …” Merlin calls and steps inside but his words falls short as he watches Gwen sitting down with her father. Gwen looks up at Merlin and a smile immediately flashes across her face. Beside Merlin, Arthur is fuming with his eyes never straying from Guinevere. But she doesn’t pay any attention to him instead she keeps looking at Merlin.
“Merlin?” Gwen calls, surprised. She ignores Arthur completely. “What a pleasant surprise!”
“Gwen?” Merlin calls back. He doesn’t know what else to say hoặc how to respond. He is happy they found Gwen but he is shocked to find her here, back in her house. And Arthur is still quiet beside him. But Merlin can tell his friend is fuming.
“Come in, Merlin,” Gwen invites, getting up to her feet.
But before Merlin can step forward, Arthur blocks his friend with his hand. “Stop,” is all he says.
“Ignore him, Merlin … come inside,” Gwen invites again.
“I đã đưa ý kiến stop, Merlin!” Arthur stops Merlin.
“Merlin, come in.” Gwen reaches out and clasps Merlin’s hand and pulls him phía trước, chuyển tiếp but Arthur grabs Merlin’s shoulder and halts him.
“Enough, both of you!” Merlin shouts and removes himself from both Gwen’s and Arthur’s clutches. He adjusts his tunic and looks at both of them. “Enough …”
“I’m sorry, Merlin,” Gwen apologises.
“It’s all right Gwen, I understand …” Merlin then turns towards Arthur. “I’m not a toy for bạn to play with, Arthur. I’m your friend and I came here for support. bạn wanted to find your wife and bạn found her. So, what are bạn waiting for? Ask her to come trang chủ with you.”
“I’m not going anywhere, Merlin.”
“Gwen, what happened? Why did bạn run away?” Merlin asks. He then turns to his left and shakes Arthur’s shoulder. “Arthur! What are bạn doing? Ask her!”
“He won’t talk, Merlin, because he has đã đưa ý kiến all he needed to say last night. He made his intentions very clear to me, so … he will not say a word today.” Gwen crosses her arms across her chest and watches calmly. Behind her, Tom watches Arthur carefully.
“Why did bạn run away without letting anyone know Gwen? We were all terrified bởi your absence. The king is furious … come Gwen, lets go home,” Merlin calls.
“What do bạn mean bởi no, Gwen? That is your home, please … be considerate,” Merlin says, stepping closer. Arthur doesn’t forbid him this time but he remains silent.
“I’ve had enough, Merlin, enough of being treated like dirt,” Gwen các câu trả lời calmly. “I think I will stay here and resume being my father’s daughter.”
“Gwen … please,” Merlin pleads.
“How come bạn are the only one asking my daughter to return trang chủ Merlin? Why doesn’t the concerned husband speak for himself?” Tom asks coldly, matching Arthur’s glare.
Merlin sighs and turns his attention back to Arthur. “Arthur.”
“Let’s go home, now!” it was thêm of an instruction than request.
“No!” Gwen says strongly.
“Stop being stubborn,” Arthur snaps.
“Have you?” Gwen asks.
“Nonsense, let’s go.”
“I mean it,” Gwen says, “Do what bạn want.”
“I am your husband, Guinevere!!”
“Oh really … I thought I only mattered in your bed?”
“Guinevere!” Arthur looks at Gwen angrily. “Enough,” he hisses. Tom is still watching behind his daughter and Arthur is aware of that.
“Listen, Arthur,” Gwen steps closer and matches his stare. “I am not your plaything, to be used when bạn have needs and then tossed away. I am a woman with a tim, trái tim and my feelings are real. I feel and breathe, and I bleed when I am hurt. What bạn đã đưa ý kiến to me last night … hurts. And I’m certainly not your mistress to be called upon just to satisfy your lust. I am your wife and I expect the respect I give you. I am here because I needed someone I trust to confide my feelings to. And my father is the man I trust the most in my life. And to be honest with you, I don’t want this life with you, Arthur. I don’t want to live like a slave. No, not a slave, a … concubine. No thanks. I’d rather spend my lifetime being a poor blacksmith’s daughter than the wife of a crowned prince who doesn’t respect her!”
“Gwen,” Merlin sighs and drops his gaze upon the floor. He knows how hurt Gwen is feeling right now and he doesn’t blame her for being nasty to Arthur. He deserves it. Deserves it for all his stupidity. But he is Arthur’s friend as well and understands how his friend is feeling too. But how will he support both of them when they are both on opposing sides?
“Right … so this is your decision?” Arthur asks after a while.
“And what have me do?”
“That’s up to you, Sire, bạn are the prince. And bạn are smart, when bạn want to be. bạn can think of something,” ‘Ouchh!’
Arthur feels the sting again and clenches his jaw. “Fine. I am sorry.” He drops his head.
Merlin twists his neck so fast until he can hear it snap. Is it true? Arthur apologizing? He has never heard Arthur apologizing before and never to a woman. Is he dreaming hoặc is this really happening? Did Arthur just say he was sorry?
“Yes. I am sorry. I shouldn’t have đã đưa ý kiến that to bạn last night and I regret every word. Please, come trang chủ with me. If not for me, then please do it for my father. I fear he will be sick with worry if bạn don’t return trang chủ with me.” His voice is contrite.
Gwen’s features soften upon mention of the king. She likes the king and she feels bad for abandoning him. But she was hurt, which is why she made such a hasty decision to come here. Truthfully she didn’t want to hurt the king hoặc the queen. She feels rather bad now.
“Please, Guinevere,” Arthur pleads. He still looks tight but he surely seems to mean his words. “Come home.”
[i]‘Is this all really happening?’[/] Merlin asks himself. Slowly he pinches himself. It hurts. Yes, this is real.
“Guinevere,” Tom calls and drapes his arms across Gwen’s shoulder. She looks up at him.
“Go home, for the king.”
“But, Father …”
“I understand … but the king has been nothing but kind to you. This is not the way to repay his kindness. Go home,” Tom advises. “Trust me, please … this once.”
Gwen thinks for a long while and finally nods. “I will, Father, for bạn and the king. No one else,” she says and turns back to meet Arthur. She thought she noticed a flash of pain in his eyes. But it was just a flash; he seems to control his emotions well and hides whatever pain he feels.
Tom looks up at Arthur and he doesn’t smile. “I might be just a blacksmith, Sire, and I understand I work for you. But let me remind bạn that we have pride and dignity as well. I hope I don’t have to one ngày face the king regarding my daughter. bạn won her in the wager, but I swear I will do everything to get her back, even at the cost of my own life, should bạn give her cause to shed another tear.”
“Fair enough,” Arthur các câu trả lời shortly.
“Don’t worry, dear. Accept this as one of your challenges. There is nothing bạn cannot overcome … go back to the castle,” Tom advises.
“Thank you, Father,” Gwen says. She reaches up and kisses him on the cheek and turns back to face Arthur. But she doesn’t say anything. Instead she looks at Merlin. “Let’s go, Merlin,” she says and passes in between both men.
Merlin looks at Arthur briefly before following her from behind.
Arthur sighs, nods at Tom quickly and exits after them both.