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“Elyan? Gaius?” Gwen called out as she was led out from her chamber. “Where are they taking me?” she asked, astonished to find her being led out in such a disorderly manner.
“It’s all right Gwen. I’ll speak with Arthur and get आप out in no time,” Elyan comforted her but she looked back at him, her eyes widening in shock.
“What are आप talking about? Where is Arthur? Does he know about this! What in the world… get off me!!” Gwen started struggling. Elyan wanted to answer but his words stopped द्वारा his throat. Gaius was surprised as well.
“Hurry up!!” Agravaine ordered as he found his guards were still behind him.
“My lord!! What is the meaning of this?” Gwen asked, her voice rising in annoyance. She tried to pull herself free but the guards were firm with their grip.
“I’m sorry Gwen. This is Arthur’s orders. He wants आप to be locked up in the dungeon. I’m merely following his instructions,” Agravaine said, looking sympathetically at Gwen.
The name hit her like a slab. ‘Arthur?’ she thought. ‘But why?’ she was clueless. Why would Arthur want her locked in the dungeons? What did she do to deserve such a treatment? सवालों after सवालों played in her head. She felt confused and her limbs weakened. She struggled no और and that eased the guards to drag her away as her brother watched sadly from the door.
“Did आप see that, Gaius?” Elyan asked, his tone soft, almost like a whisper. He turned to look at Gaius, beside him.
“She seems…” Gaius does not know what to say.
“Puzzled, stunned द्वारा her capture. She doesn’t know why is she being led to the dungeons? Isn’t that weird, Gaius?”
“It is Elyan. I noticed she stopped crying altogether. What is that?” Gaius noticed the bangle in Elyan’s hand.
“It’s her bangle. I must’ve slipped it off her when I held her hand.” Elyan gave the bangle to Gaius.
“Does she wear one?” Gaius asked, weighing it in his hand. Elyan shrugged his shoulders.
“I’m not sure. Didn’t realise it before but she must’ve got it recently, but…”
“What is it, Elyan?” Gaius asked. Elyan bit his lip, thinking.
“She hates bangles, Gaius. She never wore one before. There was one father got for her and though she took it out of respect, she never wore it.”
“But this is a bangle, Elyan, and she wore it” Gaius said, clutching the bangle tightly.
“You कहा आप saw her features changed didn’t you? And noticed how surprised she seemed when being led away, all that happened after the bangle was slipped off her…” Elyan scratched his chin. Gaius waited.
“Perhaps she was enchanted!” he suggested after a while, his face brightening up.
“Nothing is certain, Elyan…”
“But it could be a possibility, isn’t it?”
“Yes, but…”Gaius stopped. Elyan was right. Gwen did look different when the bangle was removed. And according to her brother, she never wore one before. So it is a little surprising that she wore one today. There’s only one person who can answer that question.
“We need to find Merlin, Elyan. Only he could help us now.” Gaius कहा and led the way down the corridor but as they swerved they bumped onto Merlin and the knights.
“Merlin?” Gaius called out.
“Gaius, where is Gwen?” Merlin asked, his voice alarmed.
“They took her away, to the dungeons” Elyan answered sadly. Leon stepped आगे and squeezed Elyan’s shoulder while Gwaine and Percival exchanged glances.
“Just as I feared… we need to talk to Arthur” Merlin suggested.
“Before that, Merlin, I want आप to take a look at this,” Gaius opened up his palm and there laid the bangle Elyan took from Gwen. Merlin looked at the bangle and then at Gaius.
“It’s Gwen’s bangle. Elyan slipped it off her before she was led away.” Gaius explained.
“Can I?” Merlin asked and Gaius dropped the bangle onto Merlin’s palm. The moment the bangle touched his skin, something stirred in him. His breathings quickened while his mind became muzzy for a while. His eyes instantly blazoned but thankfully he was looking down and no one saw the blazoned pupil. He closed his hand over the bangle and felt the magic flow in him. It was enchanted, no doubt about it.
“Merlin?’ Gaius shook Merlin द्वारा his shoulder. Merlin looked up and Gaius knew instantly the bangle was indeed enchanted. The latter would never look as muddled like this if it wasn’t for the work of magic. Merlin nodded at Gaius, reassuring the physician that he was all right but he needs to work out a lie for the knights; for they have yet to find out his gift. And he has no plans to reveal it to them today. Not just yet.
“It seems heavy” Merlin tried to shake off his grogginess. The enchantment is strong but not strong enough to consume him since he is a warlock himself. But good enough for anyone else like Gwen या Lancelot.
“So what about it?” Merlin added, trying to make out a lie to evade the knights.
“After the bangle came off her, Gwen didn’t know why she was being dragged to the dungeons. She was as stunned and shocked as all of us were. She seemed दिल broken when Arthur’s name was mentioned.” Elyan explained.
Gaius watched silently. Merlin eyed Gaius briefly and then at the knights, clutching the bangle in his hand tightly. He wasn’t puzzled द्वारा the news as he expected the bangle to work out exactly what it had been asked to do but what surprised him was who could have दिया it to Gwen?
“Are आप saying she’d been wearing the bangle all the time the incident occurred?” Leon asked. Gaius nodded.
“I think the bangle is enchanted!! It has to be …” Elyan cut in hastily. “We need to tell Arthur about this!” He added.
“Calm down, Elyan,” Gwaine said, looking at the now silent Merlin. “Maybe the bangle isn’t the solution here. Maybe it bore no connection to whatever happened a while ago?”
“No, Gwaine!! It has to be! It must, I know it! Gwen hates bangles and yet she wore one today. When the bangle was on she behaved rather weirdly as we all saw, but soon it slipped off, she was back to being herself again, back to being my sister!” Elyan argued.
“Yes, Elyan, but we are talking about magic here…” Percival started, but Elyan cut him short.
“Then are आप suggesting my sister did this on a purpose? That she is guilty as charged?” Elyan’s temper flared and he wasn’t afraid to दिखाना it.
“That’s not what I meant, Elyan. Please do not get me wrong. I like and respect Gwen. And I don’t believe she’d do anything like this, but what I’m saying is… we are talking about the possibility of magic being used, and correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t that forbidden here? And if it is used, who could have done it and why?” Percival made his point clear.
“Morgana!” Merlin कहा suddenly after keeping his silence. All of them turned and looked at him at the same time.
“The Lady Morgana?” Leon asked. Merlin looked at him and nodded.
“If there is one person who has hated this relationship from the beginning, it’s Morgana. She tried getting Gwen killed before, and I’m not surprised if she tried again. If the bangle was the cause of all this mess, I can tell आप it must’ve come from her!” Merlin explained. He’d been analyzing the possibility for a while now and knows there is no one else who could’ve performed such a powerful magic than Morgana herself. It has to be her.
“But how could she have दिया it to Gwen?” Elyan asked.
“Agravaine!! No doubt about it!” Gwaine hissed and punched his fist into his palm.
“Agravaine? Then we must tell Arthur about this!” Elyan कहा and walked past them but Leon held him back.
“Arthur will not listen to anyone of us regarding Agravaine. Have आप any idea whom we are talking about? He is Arthur’s uncle! With everything being turned against us, Arthur will never listen to us… any of us!” Leon stressed the last phrase, looking at Merlin.
“He’s right, Elyan. Arthur’s mind has been poisoned and talking will not be fruitful. We need to do things differently.”
“How?” Gaius asked.
“We need to get to Morgana through her own medicine, magic!” Merlin suggested.
“Magic! Are आप insane, Merlin?” Percival was shocked. Merlin smiled.
“No, I’m not, Percival but there is no other way to help Gwen from this mess. We need to use magic to break the enchantment and save her.”
“But the council members would not approve of it!” Leon said.
“They don’t need to know, Leon. Merlin’s right. We need magic to get rid of magic but how do आप propose to do this Merlin?” Gwaine asked. Merlin turned towards Gaius who had been very quiet since Merlin suggested using magic to help his friends. The old man was looking at the young wizard keenly.
“We happened to know an old sorcerer who lives in the woods. Not sure if you’ve all encountered him before, but according to Arthur, he was deemed to have killed Uther Pendragon” Merlin said.
“HIM!!” Leon snapped.
“No!! Not him, Merlin. I will kill him if he ever sets his foot here!” Leon added. Merlin sighed and looked at Gaius for help.
“That wizard was not responsible for Uther’s death Leon, Morgana was!” Gaius spoke.
“What?” Leon asked.
“The दिन I found Uther dead, I noted he wore a chain. Far different then the one he usually wore. It was एनचांटेड with powerful magic which reversed the healing power used द्वारा the sorcerer trying to save him. Eventually the enchantment killed Uther and the sorcerer was blamed instead. I recognised the chain and there’s no one else except her who could have worked out such a powerful magic.”
“Does Arthur know of this?” Gwaine asked.
“Why not tell him? Then he’d stop blaming the sorcerer for his father’s death?” Percival chipped in.
“Arthur was devastated when he लॉस्ट both of his parents to magic and considers it evil. If I told him about this; he will be shattered. And I was afraid it would him lead him to be exactly like his father. We need a king, not a tyrant who’d rampage across the kingdom executing people for who they are. I was there when the great Purge occurred, and I wish not for another, especially from Arthur.” Gaius finished. Silence filled the chamber.
“Like it या not, Leon, the sorcerer is the only one who can help us now!” Merlin begun after a while. Leon looked at the knights and nodded, slowly.
“What are we going to do? We need a plan,” Percival asked.
“I need to meet Gwen first and then I’ll ride to get the sorcerer.” Merlin planned out.
“And?” Elyan asked.
“Let’s hope the sorcerer has clues about this bangle. If indeed Gwen was एनचांटेड द्वारा this bangle, then breaking the spell will be the answer. If she’s been released द्वारा the spell when आप removed the bangle, Elyan, then we must make sure Arthur realises this is a foil to get him and Gwen separated. Since he wouldn’t listen to any of us, we need the sorcerer to do the talking instead,” Merlin laid out his plans.
“Sounds to good to me” Percival claimed. The others nodded approvingly.
“Wait!!” Gwaine कहा alarmingly.
“What?” Merlin asked.
“Lancelot? What about Lancelot? Is he एनचांटेड too?”
“I’m not sure, Gwaine… is he?” Merlin कहा and turned to Gaius. It was a good सवाल and they seemed to have forgotten all about him.
“I thought so a while… he was behaving oddly as well,” Gaius added.
“I thought so, too,” Elyan seconded. Merlin bit his lips.
“Since he was resurrected, he had been behaving rather odd…”
“Maybe the lady Morgana was behind this as well?”
“Perhaps, Leon… it could be. But one way to find out is to break the enchantment and then we’d know if Lancelot been एनचांटेड या not,” Merlin suggested.
“But we need to save him. He is going to be burned at stake द्वारा sunset!” Gwaine informed.
“WHAT!!” Elyan looked dismayed.
“Arthur’s orders. And I’m sure Agravaine will be getting down to it as we speak,” Leon added.
“Then we must hurry,” Merlin said.
“Before that, I need a word with Arthur. I want my sister to be tried fairly. King या not, I deserve an answer!!” Elyan was determinedly.
“We are with you, Elyan. We want to talk with him as well… let’s go!” Gwaine कहा and led the way. The others followed. Leon stopped द्वारा Merlin and patted the young wizard’s shoulder.
“Get the sorcerer as fast as आप can Merlin!”
“I will Leon, I will” Merlin promised. Leon nodded and followed behind the rest, along the corridor. Merlin sighed and proceeded to leave but Gaius held his wrist.
“What’s up in that brain of yours?” Gaius asked. Merlin sighed and patted the old man’s hand softly.
“I want to save my friends, Gaius!”
“And how do आप plan to do that?”
“That is still a mystery. Maybe I’ll think about after I’ve met Gwen.”
“Be careful, Merlin” the old man advised. Merlin smiled and nodded.
“I will, but keep an eye on Agravaine for me” Merlin asked. Gaius nodded and Merlin left, heading to the dungeon.
Gwen sat with her face buried in her hands. Soft sobs escaped her as she leaned against the cold दीवार of her cell, locked alone and in misery down in the dungeon. Her दिल ached. She was both hurt and confused. Why had Arthur instructed such a punishment for her? What did she do? And where is he? Why hasn’t he come down to see her and spoke to her directly? Her जवाब came to her incoherently and she was having a hard time trying to sort her muddled thoughts. और sobs escaped and she shivered in cold. The cell rattled. She removed her hand from her face and looked up. Merlin entered as the guard closed the cell behind him and walked back to his station. Gwen’s spirit lifted.
“Merlin? Did Arthur send आप here? Did he ask आप to free me?” she asked excitedly. A smile formed on her face.
Merlin looked at her sadly. How could he tell her that he was here on his own, that Arthur was determined to punish her and Lancelot द्वारा all means.
“Merlin?” the smile was now fading.
“No, Gwen. Arthur didn’t send me here. I came to see you… on my own wish” he finally said, reluctantly.
Gwen’s दिल sank and she leaned back against the wall, crashing her head hard to get the reality checked in. Merlin rushed to her side and knelt down beside her.
“Gwen!!” he held her hand in his own and looked worryingly at her.
“He gave up on me, didn’t he Merlin?”
“No don’t say that… it’s not true…”
“Merlin!” Gwen stopped him and heard him sigh. Slowly her eyes drifted down to his, and noted his eyes were laced with sadness as well. “Please do not lie to me anymore” she said. He looked away.
“What did I do?” she asked, reaching out and clipping his chin and turned it around it meet her. He remained silent.
“Please, Merlin,” a tear rolled down her cheek. Merlin’s दिल became heavy with guilt.
“Arthur caught आप and Lancelot… “ Merlin didn’t know how to let those words out without hurting her. Gwen is his friend and one who’d stood द्वारा him through pain and laughter. He can never do anything that will hurt her. But he needs to tell her truth. The सवाल is, how?
“Arthur saw me doing what Merlin?” Gwen reached up and grabbed Merlin’s scarf, shaking him. Her eyes filled with pain as she tried to restrain her emotions. She knew she had done something bad but she never anticipated this. What in the world did she commit?
“He saw आप both kissing… in the hall!” Merlin finally said.
Gwen released Merlin and gaped, her fingers trembling as she clasped it over her mouth. ‘No!’ she thought. ‘What did I do!’ her दिल raced as she tried to remember everything that has happened today. But as much she tried, the last thing she did recall was opening the gift that Arthur left her. And now when she was forcefully dragged out from her own chamber. What happened in the midst is still a mystery as she didn’t remember a single thing.
“I didn’t do that Merlin! I would never do that!! I would never betray Arthur,” fresh tears escaped her eyes and rolled along her cheek. Merlin wiped it with his thumb and gently cupped her face.
“Gwen… I know! No one believed आप did, but … “
“Arthur believed, didn’t he?”
“He was forced to believe, Gwen, trust me!” Merlin कहा and looked around before lowering his voice. “Agravaine convinced him,” he finished.
Gwen laughed bitterly and shook her head. “How did I act stupidly like this, Merlin? What was I thinking?”
“Gwen… I need to know some facts from you, and trust me, everything आप say will help me to prove your innocence. But आप have to remember everything”
“What will it do Merlin? How will it help? The damage is done! I broke Arthur’s दिल and nothing आप do right now is going to help me!” Gwen peeled his hand off her face and turned away. But Merlin was as stubborn as she was and turned her back around to meet him.
“Listen here, Gwen! The damage is done, yes, but that does not mean I’m going to sit back and accept that! No, not me! I will never let my फ्रेंड्स suffer for someone else’s doing and I will get to the bottom of this at any cost, my life included!!” he कहा sharply. Gwen’s lips quivered as her दिल shattered like glass. She was hurt and it killed her. She wanted to cry, desperately.
“Oh,” he reached out and pulled her to him, wrapping her against his chest warmly. Gwen’s sob increased as he comforted her, caressing her back with soft warm strokes.
“I’m sorry, Gwen, I didn’t mean to say that, I am so sorry,” he apologised as Gwen buried her face in his chest and sobbed. Merlin was saddened द्वारा Gwen’s cries. He of all people knew how much she loved Arthur and wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize the beautiful relationship she has with the king. He shared their happiness because it was Merlin who initiated the relationship in the beginning. It started off as a favour and ended up merging two hearts together. And since then, he made sure no obstacles stood in their way and used everything in his power to see the relationship flourish. He braved sorcery, temptations and even marriage to bring Arthur and Gwen together and he isn’t going to back down here. Softly he pushed her back so that he could look at her.
“Gwen… I need आप tell me everything” he said. She shook her head and sobbed.
“Please Gwen… an innocent man is going to be burnt at stake and another is going to be hurt and broken for the rest of his life. Only आप can help them both,” he pleaded again.
“What is it, आप want to know?”
“Everything… all that आप know. What happened in the morning after we left to go hunting, why were आप with Lancelot and who gave the bangle?”
“You wore a bangle, Gwen…” Merlin searched his pockets and fished out the bangle he took from Elyan and showed her. She tried to take it from him but Merlin pulled it back. “I don’t think आप should touch it again, Gwen… आप came to your senses after it was removed from you,” he added.
“But I wore it? I… really can’t remember anything, Merlin.”
“Please try Gwen. I need to know everything, या at least anything.”
Gwen pressed her lips together, wiped her eyes and tried to remember. With all the commotion today, her mind is still blurry and was having difficulty remembering the details.
“I cleaned Uther’s chamber as Arthur wanted and went to his to see if there was anything for me to do. I found a box, a gift with my name on it. I opened up the box and found…” she winced as the last part of the detail is eluding her.
“Found what Gwen?”
“I found… the bangle!” Gwen shot Merlin a bewildered look. “I found the bangle, Merlin. And I remember picking it up… and that’s all I remembered. I have no idea what happened in the middle but I last recall being led out from the chamber to here, to this cell!”
“You must have put it on because, like I said, आप came to your senses after Elyan removed it from you. Was the gift from Arthur?”
“It must be, it has my full name on it. Only Arthur addresses me as Guinevere and I remember his handwriting well.”
“This is even और complicated than I thought.”
“Gwen… Arthur did leave आप a gift. He told me himself, and like आप said, the handwriting proves it, but… I have reasons to believe the bangle must be एनचांटेड because after आप had it on your behaviour changed and that’s when everything went from bad to worse.”
“Are आप suggesting Arthur placed a spell on his own gift? No, I won’t believe it!! He wouldn’t do it, not Arthur”
“Neither do I, Gwen. Arthur would never do anything like that but perhaps someone else did?”
“I think someone must have tampered with his gift या changed it, resembling his original packing so that आप wouldn’t suspect anything. Someone who despises your relationship, someone who hates you”
“Merlin, almost everyone here hates our relationship. There are a variety of people to suspect. Who are आप going to point your finger at?”
“You are forgetting something, Gwen. Arthur is the king and if he chooses to marry you, regardless what rank are आप from, he will still do it, with या without anyone’s approval. And these people will have to adapt to that decision. But not necessarily those who share close bond with him. Someone like Agravaine या Morgana. द्वारा now I’m sure आप know how Morgana hates आप and I have reason to suspect Agravaine as well. So… either one could have played their part in tampering with the gift and create all this mayhem.” Merlin said.
“What about Lancelot? He behaved erratically since he returned? Maybe he did it to get me on his side?”
“No Gwen, I think he is being एनचांटेड as well. From the way I saw, he seems to be as much a victim as आप are.” Merlin replied. Gwen looked down to her fingers and remained silent.
“Apart from the kiss… did I do anything else?”
“No, आप and Lancelot were professing your प्यार for another in the hall when Agravaine eavesdropped on आप and informed Arthur. He didn’t believe it at first but Agravaine was convincing and unfortunately Arthur caught आप both… together and attacked Lancelot!”
“Oh my! What happened?” Gwen quickly looked at Merlin.
“The knights interfered before things got worse, but he sentenced Lancelot to his death and आप here,” Merlin finished. Gwen shook her head in disbelief and clutched her stomach, feeling sick. Merlin touched her shoulder.
“Arthur will need to be told about this enchantment and make him realise his mistakes in judgement,” he said.
“Will Arthur believe all this, Merlin? He hates magic and now you’ve accused his uncle as well… will it work?”
“That’s something I need to work out fast and I need आप to trust me, Gwen. No matter what I do, I need your trust. Will आप give me that?”
“Merlin, you’re scaring me. What are आप going to do?”
“I can’t tell आप yet, but please trust me,” he stuck out his hand and placed her own upon it. “Please?”
“There is no one I would trust और in this situation, Merlin, but please do not attempt anything stupid. I’ve लॉस्ट Arthur and I don’t want to lose you, too.”
“You’ve लॉस्ट nothing Gwen! Arthur is yours and only yours, hear me? There is still hope and आप must have faith in your love! You’ve दिया me strength and hope when I was lost, and now let me repay that द्वारा helping आप get back to Arthur, understand?” Merlin कहा sharply. Gwen nodded slowly and closed her eyes. Merlin leaned आगे and kissed her forehead.
“I have to go now Gwen. But I will get आप out of this, I promise. I will mend the situation.” he कहा softly. And when she didn’t answer him, he forced her to look at him. “Understand?”
“I broke his दिल Merlin… how will I ever face him after what I have done?”
“He will understand Gwen after he learns the truth. And he will accept आप back in his life. I promise आप that,” Merlin stated, his own voice choking with emotion. Gwen nodded and forced a smile though her दिल ached with anguish. He smiled at her, caressed her cheek and got up to his feet. Bidding her a quick goodbye, he signaled for the guard and as he walked out from the cell he heard soft sobs again. He didn’t need to turn to find out whom it belongs to. Choking on his own grief, he hurried out from the dungeons.