Found*

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*ARTHUR'S P.O.V*

I rode for hours.

I went in the direction he rode off in and found his horse tied to a tree. I had one of the men take to the horse back to be fed and treated for. I had dismounted and wandered around the area for at least an hour before one of my knights shouted to me that he found horse tracks. We followed them until we reached the mouth of a cave. By now it was dark and my men suggested we make camp and rest but i insisted we continue into the cave.

We followed the cave until the path narrowed so tight we could only walk single file. The cave had finally opened up and we walked into a medium sized room. A single support type beam sat in the middle. The room was void of anything else besides a tiny lantern in one corner. As I neared the pole all I found was a bloodstained rope that had been cut and was sitting at the floor of the beam.

We left the cave and my men convinced me to stop and make camp, assuring no good would come to out searches if we couldn't see where we were going. I woke the next morning incredibly early, after waking the men and packing the camp, we were off. Without breakfast or a clue where to go we started searching the area. I was the one to find it this time. A cloth had been torn and was stuck on a branch. At first I thought Merlin but this appeared to be the robes of a woman. We followed that trail for hours. After a long time I started to feel as if we were not in the right track so we all dismounted and searched the area. We found horse prints a ways back the led off in another direction. We followed them for a whole longer. Only stopping so the horses could drink.

After searching for another two days, we reached the hut. The forest around it armed livelier than the rest of the forest but such in a way that was almost scary. The foliage was so thick and the trees made off sounds. Just as my horse trotted up it the door it opens. And out comes Merlin. He looks up at me and the first thing I notice is his terrible condition.

He has a cut on each cheek, one surrounded by dried blood and the other fresh. He also has one above his left eyebrow and the blood from that has dripped into his eye blinding him. He has a huge gash across his chest and judging by the amount of dried blood on his shirt, it had been an older wound. His wrists had angry red marks and blood, fresh and dried, covered his hands. I quickly jump off my horse just in time to catch the falling Merlin. He looks up at me with sad eyes and I just have time to say "I'm sorry" before his eyes close and his breathing slows. I quickly and easily pick his fragile body up and carry him over to my horse. I gesture for my men to check the hut as I tie Merlin to my horse.

Morgana was gone. There was a potion smashed on the wall and blood on the floor. The only way we knew it was Morganas hut was because she had a hand mirror on a desk that my father had gifted her when she was small. There was a crack running down the middle but altogether looked the same as when she got it. The back door was still swinging when my men entered but with only 7 people, one being unconscious, we couldn't take on the witch. We had to get Merlin back to Camelot to be healed before he died of blood loss. I rode quicker than I eve had before. Not stopping once. My men fell behind but that made no matter to me. I rode and rode all the way to Camelot. As I pass through the gates one of the guards shouts,

"Inform knight Gwaine of Arthurs arrival!" and the other guard runs off. Gwaine? Why would he need to know? I ride up to the castle and quickly dismount. I grab Merlin and carry his unconscious body to Gaius's chambers, practically sprinting the whole way there, ignoring the odd looks from people. I burst through the door, not bother to knock. Gaius looks up in surprise but quickly regains his composure when he sees Merlin, cut and bloody in my arms, and clears a space on a bed. I run over and gently set Merlin down. Gauis instantly gets to work. Feeling useless but having nothing I can do, I sit down and watch. He treats the obvious wounds first and removes Merlin's shirt to treat his chest wound. I sit and stare for a bit at Merlin's chest. He's not weak. He has muscle. But he's not built.

Looking solemn, I mutter the words I've been stressing about for the past 5 days. "I know..."

Gauis just looks up confused.

"Know what my lord?"

"I-I know Merlin has m- he um- I know that he- he's a-a sorcerer." I stutter.

He looks up once again but surprised.

"I think I've misheard you sire.."

Now it's my turn to look confused.

"You didn't know?" I ask baffled. There's no way Gauis doesn't know.

He sighs and looks down at Merlin's pale little face. "No. No I did know. I have known.." He says almost ruefully.

"I'm not gonna execute you. Or Merlin. He means to much to me. I was hurt at first, b-but I just can't. I can't hurt him. It kills me seeing him in the state he's in now..." Tears that I didn't know we're there escape my eyes and fall freely down my cheeks. I don't bother wiping them. If there's anyone I could cry in front of, it's him.

"Good. Then I suspect that the second this boy is conscious you'll be thanking him. Maybe you understand more now but this boy was born to protect you. And protect you he has. He's thrown his important life on the line more times than I can count for you. I have just one question. How did you find out? He's kept it this long, what changed?" His attention back on Merlin, he doesn't look at me when he asks this.

"I- he... uhh. I don't know. We were attacked on a hunting trip. The men should've been easy to take out. Pathetic excuse for fighters I say, but I got confident and a big guy managed to hit me in the head. I suppose Merlin thought I was knocked out because I didn't get up right away. He looked around and next thing I know, three men had gone flying on their butts. He turns so that I can see his face and his eyes flash a golden color and the rest of the men go on their butts. I was confused. I had no clue what happened until one of the men yelled 'sorcerer' and they all went scrambling away. Then I realized. It's true. He does have magic. I said some pretty mean stuff and he rode off. Mad and upset. I yelled after him but I was so hurt. I went back to Camelot and after three days I decided I had to talk to him. And you said he wasn't here so I went after him. Turns out the men were Morganas. She got away but at least he's safe...." I say this with my eyes closed. No one will ever understand how much this boy means to me.

"Why. That explains this cut on his eyebrow. It wasn't caused by any blade but by magic. This ones gonna be tough to heal but i can do it. He'll be okay my lord. You look exhausted. Go get some rest."

"I don't know. I think I'll sta-"

"Sire. I assure you he'll be fine. Nothing but a few scratches and cuts. Go get some rest. You won't be much use to him if you're sick from exhaustion. Please sire. I'll send for you the second he opens his eyes."

I sigh. "Alright Gauis. Thank you so much." I stand to leave. Gauis stand and walks to the cabinet. I quickly bend down and plant a kiss on Merlin's forehead. Looking back up to assure Gauis didn't see, I turn and make my way back to my chambers.

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