Author: Ali-chan (ad_exia)
Summary: Merlin and Gaius discover how to kill the latest threat to Camelot, with a little help from the internet.
A/N: Thanks to starlightstorm for the idea. XD <3
Since the challenge hasn't been officially closed yet, I figured I would try to squeak this in? I was really excited for this prompt and then this past week ate me alive.
“Gaius!” Merlin came crashing through the door to the physician’s workroom, looking flustered and harried. “There’s a monster attacking the outer villages, we have to stop it!”
The old man looked up from his workbench, where he was mixing herbs for a poultice – sir Gregory had gotten himself rather badly bruised during practice yesterday.
“What? What is it?” Gaius asked, setting down the mortar and pestle and immediately turning his full attention upon Merlin. “Do you know what kind of beast it is?”
Merlin’s face fell. “No – I’ve only heard descriptions, but it sounds ghastly. We need to find a way to stop it at once!” He raised his hands, making horns on the side of his head with his fingers. “It has horns and more than one head and it breathes out poison!” Merlin paused, looking worried. “We have to find a way to stop it, or Arthur will surely meet his death. He rides out at sunrise.”
Gaius sighed. The beast did sound rather ghastly. “Well, I suppose there’s only one thing to do.” He motioned to the shelves at the back of the room. “Get the laptop and we’ll look it up on Wikipedia. It’s as good a place to start as any.”
An hour later, Arthur opened the door and entered the room. He’d been summoned by a servant who claimed Gaius needed to see him right away about a matter most urgent. He found Gaius and Merlin (clearly worse than the world’s worst manservant – he couldn’t even be bothered to come fetch Arthur himself) huddled in front of Gaius’ computer, the dim glow from the screen painting their faces an eerie white.
“Ah, Prince Arthur!” Gaius looked up and beckoned him over. “We have something we believe may be of use to you, if you plan to ride out against the beast attacking the villages.”
Arthur frowned. “What’s there to know? I’m simply going to lop off every head it has – assuming it has more than one of course, you know how frightened villagers can be – and be done with it.” He didn’t see the problem with this plan. It seemed rather sound to him.
Gaius raised one eyebrow, a look that Arthur had long since learned meant something like, That’s what you think, you silly young man. “It’s not... quite that simple, your highness.”
Merlin looked up, his eyes imploring. “You really should come look at this – we have reason to think the beast is... erm, magic.” The last word was whispered so that Arthur could barely hear it over the sound of the laptop’s cooling fans.
“Magic?” Arthur came around the workbench and looked at the screen. “A hydra?”
He read the information the two had found for him and nodded, crossing his arms. “Well, magical or not, I will slay this beast. It appears it has been done before; I shall use this strategy.”
Merlin looked distinctly relieved. But then, “It might be best if we didn’t tell King Uther,” Merlin mused slowly, brow furrowed as he tried to think of a way to keep this information out of the king’s hands. But it would be difficult – after all, he could simply look it up the way Merlin and Gaius had, couldn’t he?
“Don’t worry,” Arthur said, with a somewhat rueful smile. “My father can never get his computer to work properly. Keeps saying how the thing is vile and he doesn’t see why we can’t just look things up in books, like the old days.” He rolled his eyes. “I suppose some people just aren’t ready for the information age, the way the rest of us are.”