Title: The Future Is Now (Chapter 24)
Character/s: Merlin, Aithusa
Summary: The quest continues with more challenges
Prompt: 328. Whatever you’re going to ask, the answer is No!”
“Merlin…?” Arthur pushed gwen behind him.
“Whatever you're going to ask, the answer is No!" Merlin scratched his head. “No. I didn't know there was a dragon down here. It must have been in here since I ...uh… he put this quest together.”
“Is it dead?” Gwen asked as she peeked from behind Arthur.
“I think It’s been hibernating.” Merlin squinted. “If it was dead it would be dust by now.”
“How are we going to get around that … thing?” Arthur scowled. “It’s going to kill us.”
“No it won’t. We just have to reason with it.” Merlin sighed. “It’s a dragon. It speaks dragon tongue.”
Arthur and Gwen shared a nervous look.
Merlin held out his hand and used his magick to make the path glow. He started walking and realized that the passage was sloping downward just slightly. He was halfway along the passage when he realized Arthur and Gwen weren't behind him. “Come on! We have to stay together.”
Arthur held Gwen’s hand and they caught up to Merlin.
“What if it’s hungry?” Gwen asked. “I didn’t bring anything to eat.”
“I have an apple in my coat pocket.” Merlin started walking again.
“Yeah. That’s going to be plenty after the beast has been hibernating foe centuries.” Arthur snarked.
Merlin threw a glare over his shoulder as he stepped into the cavern.
The dragon opened one eye and looked at him.
Merlin knelt down and stroked its head then he spoke in dragon tongue. “Calm dragon. We mean you no harm.”
The dragon opened its other eye and then sniffed Merlin. It tilted its head and then looked at Arthur and Gwen at the end of the passageway. It bowed its head then started to stand up.
“Merlin, its moving.” Arthur whispered.
“I see that.” Merlin stroked its side. “I know her name somehow. It’s Aithusa.”
The dragon turned to Merlin and licked him with her huge tongue then nuzzled him.
“I’ve missed you as well.” Merlin told the dragon in its language. He was suddenly flooded with images from her memories and some from Merlin of Camelot. Merlin nodded. “I understand. Aithusa, can you help us?”
The dragon nodded then moved to the wall of the cavern. She took a breath then exhaled fire onto the wall. Another passageway appeared. Aithusa looked at Merlin and bowed.
Merlin took the apple from his pocket and gave it to her.
Aithusa gobbled it up then blew on the floor of the passageway to make the path appear for them.
“Thank you," Merlin waved Arthur and Gwen over to the passage way. “It’s okay. She won't hurt you.”
Arthur put Gwen between him and the wall then walked over to the passage.
“You can't leave her here like this”. Gwen looked at merlin.
Merlin pointed up to a small speck of daylight. “She isn't trapped. She has come and gone many times for food over the years.”
Arthur and Gwen looked up.
“Merlin, how far down are we?” Arthur asked.
“Looks like about a kilometer maybe more.” Merlin gave Aithusa one last pet on the head and started through the passageway with his touch in his hand lighting the way.
Arthur and Gwen followed closely behind.
The next cavern was empty except for an altar in the center. There were words written on it in dragon tongue.
On the altar were three bowls; one each of gold, iron, and crystal.
Merlin frowned as he looked at the words. “It seems this is the test of our true identities. Did anyone bring a knife?”
“I have a first aid kit. There are lancets in it.” Gwen pulled a small red box from her pocket. “We are going to have to cut ourselves aren't we?”
Merlin nodded. “Each needs to put blood in the bowl mean for them. Gold for the king, iron for the blacksmith's daughter and crystal for the sorcerer. The sword will appear as soon as we do that.”
Gwen handed Arthur and Merlin a lancet. “These are meant to test blood glucose levels. Theyre not going to give much blood.”
“We only need a drop or two.” Merlin poked his finger and let a drop of blood fall into the crystal bowl.
“Ow!” Arthur winced then let a drop of blood fall into the gold bowl.
Gwen did the same into the iron bowl.
The ground started to shake violently. Rocks and debris fell into the opening of the passageway sealing them in.
“Merlin!” Arthur pulled Gwen close to him. “Do something!”