“Will you get up Merlin! Arthur’s not going to appreciate you being late twice in a row!” Gaius said, once again prodding the sleeping Merlin none to gently in the side the next morning.
“Ok! Ok! I’m up!” Merlin said sitting up and swinging his legs over the side of the bed, rubbing his face sleepily.
Gaius left to make breakfast and Merlin threw on some clothes. He wasn’t as late as the day before so he took his time and a few minutes later he was on his way to the princes chambers, a heap of armour cradled in his arms.
Shifting the armour into one arm he knocked on Arthur’s door and waited for a reply. None came so he knocked again. When there was still no answer he opened the door and stuck his head in, expecting Arthur to still be asleep.
Well that’s just down right weird, Merlin thought seeing that Arthur’s bed had obviously not been slept in as it wasn’t a mess as you would expect. Merlin opened the door and entered the room backwards, having trouble with the armour.
“Arthur?” Merlin turned around and saw a figure by the window. There was no reply.
“Err…Arthur?” Merlin said a little louder.
The figure, silhouetted by the sun shining through the window, didn’t move. Merlin dumped the armour on the table and went up to his friend who still stood motionless. Momentarily blinded by the sun Merlin went around Arthur to face him, his hand shielding his eyes by the light that shone brightly through the window. Out of the way of the sun Merlin took down his arm and stared at his friend in horror.
He was made of gold.
It quite literally looked as though he had been frozen in metal where he stood, rooted to the spot and a mixture of terror, amazement and confusion plastered on his golden features. Merlin swallowed, his eyes wide, and waved a hand up and down in front of the prince’s face.
This might have seemed strange that someone was acting as though the statue was alive but the golden figure was far too realistic to be anything but Arthur. Each and every hair was separate and not lumpy like it would be on a real statue and if you looked closely you could even see tiny little veins in the eyes.
Merlin just stood there gawping for some time before regaining his wits. He knocked the statue on the head with his knuckle and was met by a metallic echo. That didn’t really prove anything though. Arthur’s head probably did that before he was made of gold. Merlin shook those particular thoughts out of his head. Now was not the time to be childish. Suddenly going into magic defence mode (for magic it clearly was) he leapt over to Arthur’s chest of draws. He opened the many little draws until he found the keys to the door. He ran out of the door, locking it behind him, not planning on anyone finding that the prince of Camelot had turned into a golden statue. He ran at high speed down the corridor back to Gaius’s chambers. If any one could help it was the physician.
He burst into Gaius’s office out of breath. Not because of the running but because he was scared that maybe this was the end of Arthur for it was quite likely the prince was already dead because of the fact he was now made of solid gold.
“Merlin? What is it?” Gaius said, concerned at the frightened look on the young mans face.
“You are not going to belive this!” Merlin shook his head wildly, hardly believing it himself.
“What?” Gaius said, his eyebrows knitting into a frown.
“I…I can’t explain it! Just come and see!” Merlin grabbed the confused Gaius and proceeded to drag him out of the door.
“He’s solid gold!” Gaius exclaimed, examining Arthur with an extremely confused and worried look on his face.
“I can see that! What are we going to do!” Merlin cried.
Gaius didn’t answer.
“Is he alive? What am I going to do? Have I failed? What are we going to tell the king? Is he really gold? How did it happen?” Merlin asked at top speed, pacing up and down the room and nibbling at his nails.
“Merlin! Stop babbling!” Gaius said above the relentless flow of questions that fell of Merlin like a waterfall.
“Sorry.” Merlin sat down heavily onto a chair.
“Could…couldn’t it just be a statue of Arthur and not Arthur himself?” He asked hopefully, trying to convince himself more than anything that Arthur was alive.
“No. It’s far too realistic to be a statue. But there is a way to be sure…” Gaius said.
“What?” Merlin said, standing up.
Gaius bent a little and pressed his head sideways onto Arthur’s chest.
“What are you doing?” Merlin asked curiously.
“Shh. I’m trying to listen for a heartbeat.” Gaius said, holding up a hand for silence. Merlin subsided back into the chair and waited anxiously for a conclusion.
“Well that’s interesting. Very interesting indeed.” Gaius said unbending and rubbing a finger on his chin.
“What is it?” Merlin asked, standing up again.
“Come here. Listen.” Gaius beckoned Merlin over and Merlin pressed his head to Arthur’s chest.
After a moment he heard a quiet but steady thud of a heart come from the golden statue.
“Does that mean he’s alive?” Merlin asked excitedly.
“A heartbeat usually means that.” Gaius said. “It also mean that this is most defiantly the doing of magic.”
Gaius threw a withering look at Merlin. Suddenly a clamour of a crowd and clashing lances sounded outside the window. The tournament had begun.
“What are we going to tell the king?” Merlin asked anxiously. He wondered what reaction Uther would have to this.
“Ok. I’ll get him.” Merlin said running out the door.
“What are you talking about boy? How dare you interrupt the tournament!” Uther shouted angrily at the young man before him.
“Please sire! Arthur has…is…well…I don’t know how to put it…”
“Once again, what are you talking about?”
Merlin decided to tell the king straight. There was no way to soften the blow.
“Arthur’s turned into a gold statue.” Merlin said preparing himself for whatever would come next.
“What?” The king laughed.
“He-“ Merlin began but was interrupted by a tap on the shoulder that came from Gaius.
“You majesty. It is true. Will you come?” Gaius said, bowing slightly.
“Gaius? What is this? What’s going on?” The king asked standing.
Merlin bristled, angry that the king would listen to a more important man like Gaius than him, a servant.
“I fear it is the work of magic sire. Please will you come.”
“Magic?” Uther asked. Obviously this had got his attention.
Merlin was painfully aware of the hundreds of eyes belonging to the crowd staring curiously at the occupants of kings private box.
“Yes.” Gaius answered.
“Show me where he is.” The king commanded, strolling out of the box.
“I’m coming!” Morgana suddenly stood from where she had been intently listening to the conversation.
The king didn’t even seem to notice her statement and continued strolling away. Morgana took it that she could go and dragged Gwen with her as they followed the king, Gaius and Merlin towards the castle.