This is it, the final chapter – enjoy!
Merlin Point of View
Things were different now, it felt like they were, as he began to feel his arms and legs , and felt a strange warmth spreading around his entire body, healing what he knew were his injuries.
He realised that he hadn't just been in a very deep sleep, he had also been perilously close to deaths door, he had no doubt of that, but quite why now he had rapidly healed he wasn't entirely sure. Because for him to have healed like he had would have meant only one possibility in his mind, which he quickly dismissed to really enjoy the ever increasing feel of life and magical power seep through very single fibre of his being.
He had not realised until then just how much magic he had used, and how utterly fantastic it felt to have such a large amount of magic flowing through his body again. To him, like water on a parched desert landscape, lots of it, gushing through it, filling every single crevice and crack up as it went.
It was a wonderful feeling, a feeling he loved, and a feeling somehow knew now could not leave him, which made him inwardly smile. He loved magic, and realised that the barriers of fear which he had had before, and not fully realised it, were no longer there, quite simply because, he knew magic would not hurt him if used correctly or well.
It did not feel that long at all until he the felt the power radiating through every cell in his body, a feeling of total warmth filled what had been a blank void in his minds eye. And where as before there was little or nothing, now there was the sweet feeling of magic.
Slowly but surely he began to feel things more acutely, like his fingers, then his fingertips, his feet, then toes. It was only when he felt everything, and felt the magic coursing through his entire body that he knew he was okay, and that he could now slowly open his eyes, as even in his mind he sensed he was not alone, there were people waiting.
There was no imminent danger, not at all, those people, of which he knew for certain there were two, were sitting down a matter of ten metres or so from where he lay on the ground.
He could tell that they had waited a good while by the relief he felt coming from them...and happiness? Yes, it was happiness, that he was okay, they had seen the visible signs of magic working on him very recently so knew he would be opening his eyes soon, of that they were absolutely sure.
They were elated to see it happening as well, for soldiers, Merlin could tell that they were soldiers, and were honour bound. Merlin was relieved that he could tell this much information about them, mainly due to the area he was in being...no, it couldn't be, could it!?
He knew without doubt that he was a very spiritual place he was in , and a very calm place, and so he slowly opened his eyes to confirm that he was in a cave, and as he looked to the right he now saw visual confirmation of it, he was in the Crystal Cave, and he smiled for the first time in ages, when he felt that he could relax. He did not feel threatened in the slightest, which he found a little odd, but something told him all was well.
As his mind began to try and reason how he had got from the camp to the Crystal Cave he knew of only two people who had the knowledge who would have brought him here, Gaius, who was aware of his magic, who had been virtually his one and only confidante over the years, and another Gwaine – who must have found out at camp after he had hopefully saved Arthur.
"Welcome back Merlin!"
a happy voice broke the silent reverie of the cave, and as Merlin found himself flat on his back he looked past his feet to see not only Gwaine but Percival. But neither were mad or looked mad in the slightest, far from it, they looked elated to see him, and in this place of all places.
There were no signs of destruction that Merlin had either seen or felt.
Merlin cautiously sat up as Gwaine urgently said,
"Relax there Merlin! You've been out for a while, and we actually thought we'd lost you."
Merlin noted the 'we' and 'out for a 'while',
"How long have I been out?"
The more difficult question of whether they knew he had magic he knew he would find out soon enough, but there was time yet for that.
"Just over 8 days. By the time we managed to get you here we truly thought we'd lost you, you seemed to get worse, but thankfully this place did it's trick – somehow."
Merlin looked at them curiously,
"We know you have magic Merlin."
said Percival smiling, and indicating the cave they were in with his one hand,
"And what this place is all about."
Merlin still looked at them curiously, not daring to hope against hope that they accepted him just like that after all this time,
"It came as something of a shock when we found out." admitted Gwaine,
"But quite frankly after what you have done over the years.." stated Percival,
"And what you did on the battlefield, and saving our hides – as we suspect – once again."
continued Gwaine shaking his head slightly, sharing a glance with Percival before they both looked at Merlin again,
"Quite frankly we couldn't wait to get you here!"
Merlin was dumbfounded, and was trying to make sure he wasn't dreaming. This was the best reaction he could possibly have, but he didn't know what to say, something neither Percival or Gwaine seemed to have a problem with,
"We found out why you came here, Gaius revealed it."
At Merlins worried expression, they both held their hands out as if trying to stop Merlin worrying,
"Don't worry! No harm as come to him, he's back at Camelot with Arthur and Gwen." said Gwaine,
"But you gave us all quite a fright!"
Merlin then finally spoke,
Gwaine looked at him in surprise,
"Why be so good about all this, me keeping it hidden?" asked Merlin,
"Your utter loyalty to Arthur, even when you saw your own kind suffering at his and our hands." said Percival,
"He was okay with it?" asked Merlin curiously,
"Well,...not exactly to start with..." started Percival,
"But Gwen soon put her two pennies worth in!" finished Gwaine and they both laughed,
and Merlin smiled and slowly got up, with both Percival and Gwen following suit,
"This is a very peaceful place Merlin." said Percival,
"It really calms you down." added Gwaine,
"And the only two non-magical people to have ever been here!" said Merlin glancing between Percival and Gwaine, who looked at Merlin asking,
Merlin shrugged his shoulders,
"Because people for a very long time have been brought up to fear magic, to think that if they even go near it it will hurt them, so if anyone non-magical has ever happened to come across this cave, they run in the opposite direction as fast as they could.
"Merlin, don't mean to say, but how do you know that?"
Merlin looked at them both, smiling,
"The magic in the cave tells me so!"
Percival and Gwaine looked at Merlin with wide eyes and 'Oh' expressions on their mouths, making Merlin chuckle,
then he got serious,
"So how was Arthur feeling when you left him?"
Gwaine looked at Merlin and smiled,
"He knew you would ask that question, and asked us to relay the following message to you."
Merlin raised his eyebrows, waiting,
"Percival?" asked Gwaine,
"Yes Gwaine?" replied Percival,
"Would you do the honours my noble friend?!
Percival came over and put a hand on Merlin's one shoulder looked him in the eye smiling, and said,
"Arthur told us, and I quote, "Bring me back my sorcerer!" "
Merlin beamed and shook his head slowly smiling, a tear falling down his one cheek as he looked at both Gwen and Percival. He felt as if a great burden he hadn't even realised was there, had been lifted.
"Merlin?" Gwaine asked,
"Could you show us some magic please? Some nice magic."
Merlin smiled and as Gwaine and Percival gathered around him as he blew into his hands then whispered an incantation which he had just clasped together, they noted his eyes momentarily shone golden.
He opened his hands out wide and they saw a stunning mutlicoloured large butterfly gently flap up into the air, light glinting off it as it disappeared into the light near the exit of the cave which Merlin had gone through when he had looked for an escape to go and help Arthur.
"Wow!" exclaimed Percial whistling with awe,
"Incredible!" said Gwaine with awe at the same time.
Then Merlin looked at them both, their eyes still following the butterfly, until they looked at him, and he said,
"Shall we go?" he asked,
They nodded but asked him,
"Are you feeling okay Merlin?"
And as he looked down and realised he was in his usual servant clothing, he looked at them, matching their smiling but concerned faces, replying,
"Better than ever!"