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A Prince from Another World Chp1

Chapter One: Bending the Realm of Reality

18 Years Later

Job applications, Merlin hated them and not just the “filling them out” part, but the interviews that followed. Last time he had gone on one after noticing their “Now Hiring” sign, they had ended up taking it down claiming they were full. Merlin didn’t blame them after all he had tripped four times, broken a glass vase, and spit the hot coffee offered to him at the manager’s face.

He wouldn’t hire himself either. It wasn’t that Merlin did it on purpose, he was just naturally clumsy. Quickly writing a note on a post-it, to let his mother know he was going job hunting again, Merlin attached it to the fridge with a magnet and made his way to the door. Putting on his jacket, he stuffed his drawing pad and pencil into his backpack and got on his bike, making his way towards the busiest part of the city.

Merlin’s bike hit the pavement at a steady pace as he passed various shops and dinners, their colorful banners contrasting against the delicate greens of the trees. The sun beamed down on the busy intersections and endless sidewalks, hoping to catch an unaware pedestrian in its heat. Merlin stopped at the edge of his third intersection when a ringing reached his ears.

He ruffled through his backpack until his fingers wrapped around the black plastic casing. Merlin flipped the cellphone open, glanced at the message on the small green screen, and stuck it back into his bag before continuing on. It didn’t take long for him to reach two black giant gates, clearly new against the worn out sidewalk.

Merlin pushed his bike forward and locked it in one of the numerous bike racks inside the park. He readjusted his shoulder strap and made his way through the crowds of people heading towards what he hoped was the middle of the park. Finding an empty bench, Merlin decided to wait for his friend to arrive. The heat soon got to him, his clothes clearly not meant for a day at the park, and he found himself dossing off.

Merlin slowly opened his eyes and moved to sit up, stretching his arms and bringing his knees upwards. The bench was gone; in fact he was no longer in the park. He stared at the lake before him, its calm cool waters acting like a catalyst and soothing his mind. The white toped mountains in the distance beckoning him as they reflected back at him in the lake. The grass and wild flowers swayed in the breeze and under his fingertips, sealing the peaceful and breathtaking moment. He smiled as his finger circled around a small stone half hidden in the grass and with one swooping motion he threw it into the lake. The water rippled and then became still again.

The sun was high above the sky now, around midday Merlin guessed as he took one last look at the lake and the birds flying above it; it was more beautiful than anything he had seen in books or back home in the city. The lake made him feel more like himself, like he was meant to be here for some reason. Merlin gradually rose to his feet and shook the grass sticking to his clothes, still wanting to explore the area some more he clumsily went deeper into the condensed wilderness.

Merlin didn’t know how long he had walked, but he soon found himself at the edge of the thicker part of the woods. He stared in awe at the towers peeking through the trees in the distance. It looked like a medieval castle with its red flags swaying in the wind and quite big by the parts he could make out through the landscape. Merlin was overwhelmed at the beauty of it as he got closer and more of it came into view. As he stood in the entrance leading into the castle grounds, he tightened the jacket around him, the brown thin material helping to hide some of his slim frame.

Taking a deep breath and growing a bit more curious, he stepped through the gate, avoiding the gaze from both guards standing on either side, their spears as intimidating as the rest of the guards roaming inside. Merlin soon forgot whatever fear he had when his eyes fell on the marketplace and the variety of people roaming its streets. The items, various cloths and fabrics, and accessories all seemed familiar yet foreign to him as he ran his fingers across them, picked a few up, and then set them down as he found another more enticing item to look at.

 A smile crossed his face as he neared the courtyard and swerved around staring at the many elegant colored windows and stoned walls that made up the castle. Taking two steps at a time, Merlin made his way inside following a few female maids carrying baskets of clothes. It was more magnificent from the inside, his eyes roamed over red tapestries and various shields hanging on the walls. The endless corridors soon had Merlin lost as he tried to walk back the way he had come, he clumsily slammed into a guard coming around one of the corners almost losing his footing.

“You’re not allowed on this side of the castle.” The guard yelled as he halted, bringing his hand to rest on the hilt of his sword. “This is the Prince’s corridors.”

Merlin’s eyes widened in fear as the guard unsheathed his sword; he turned around and hurriedly retreated back down the corridor. The guard followed turning the corner a few moments after Merlin and was met with an empty corridor, he hurriedly ran across it calling out a warning of an intruder. Merlin cautiously walked out from behind one of the draperies hanging in the hallway, grateful for his slim figure, and retreated the other way, away from the direction the guard had gone.

A few minutes later and Merlin found himself in front of two wooden double doors, he stared at them with uncertainty; they seemed as if to hold something special behind them, causing the small hairs at the back of Merlin’s neck to rise along with his curiosity to peek inside. The guard and his warning were forgotten. He moved towards the doors and clasped a hand on one of the iron handles, hesitating at the possibility that it might be locked.

Footsteps in the distance and metal clanking had him pushing that thought aside as he rushed through them. Quickly slamming them shut behind him, Merlin leaned his back on the rough wood, closed his eyes and sighed with relief. The footsteps moved further down the corridor and the clanking faded to the point that the only sound he could hear was his own rapid heartbeat. He was safe.

“You can’t expect me to wait all day, I asked for my bath to be prepared half an hour ago.” Arthur called out in annoyance as he stepped from behind his changing screen, black trousers the only thing clinging to his firm built body. He stopped in his tracks as he stared at the black haired young boy resting against his door.

“You aren’t Tom…” Arthur said, his lips turning a thin line as he looked around and found no bath and no warm water, clear evidence that his bath hadn’t yet been prepared.

“I guess father finally decided to give me a new servant. Well don’t just stand there get my bath ready.” He ordered and with that he stepped back behind the screen to remove his black trousers, his blond hair swaying to the movement of his hips.

Arthur removed the last remaining garment he was wearing with no difficulty and tossed them over the screen, the black trousers fell to the ground along with the white cloth by the sheer force of it. A muffled thump filled the silent room followed by a curse as Arthur realized he had dropped his towel.

“Prince Arthur, we have an intruder in the castle,” A guard called from behind his chamber door. “And I have reason to believe he might have entered your chambers.”

Arthur moved from behind the screen, forgetting for a moment that he was completely naked, to look at the door. His blue eyes darkened for a moment as they met the young boy’s slightly deeper blue colored eyes, which were practically popping out of their sockets. Arthur found himself chuckling, forgetting the severity of the words the guard had spoken as he noticed the blush quickly spreading across the boy’s face.

A warm feeling spread from his lower belly upwards to his chest and a slight grin overtook his calm features when the boy turned his face sideways trying to avert his eyes. Arthur moved his gaze from the mesmerizing blue eyes, the long black lashes that threatened to hide them, and delicate features to stare at the wooden door where the guard was pounding.

“Sire, I believe he might have entered your chambers.” The guard’s voice rattled through the frame making Arthur turn his gaze back to the young boy. The amused expression vanished to be replaced with shock and confusion as he was met with an empty room, the young boy was gone.

“Sire,” The guard slammed through the door taking the silence as an answer that the prince might be in danger, followed by three other guards all with their swords drawn and ready to defend their prince.

 Arthur suddenly remembered he was naked and reached for a pillow lying at the edge of his bed to cover himself, just in time to save him and his guards any unnecessary awkwardness. He slowly moved behind his screen door, nodding to his guards that he was alright, and that they were dismissed.

Merlin snapped up from the bench he had been lying on, completely awake and trying to figure out when he had fallen asleep in the first place. He stood up to only fall back down as his knees threatened to give way, the dream had been so vivid almost real like and he was still flustered and shaken up by it. Taking his drawing pad from his backpack, he set to draw out the image of the blonde refusing to leave his mind. His pencil scribbled with ferocity against the white sheet of paper, quickly forming Arthur’s handsome features and missing the slow rise of his beating heart.

“Merlin…Merlin…Merlin,” A voice rang through the crowd slowly forming around him and his head shot up to look at his friend Will moving towards him. He set his pencil and pad down on the bench, rose to meet him, noticing the two hotdogs he hand in his hand.

“I managed to cut through the long line and get us something to eat.” Will said, his brown hair already sticking to his head from the rising heat of the afternoon sun. “You will have to try and get the drinks, I need some shade.” His friend said as he handed Merlin some money and sat down on the bench, which provided more than enough shade for both of them.

Merlin sighed giving in, he just couldn’t say no to Will. They had been friends since kindergarten and had been inseparable ever since. He stuffed the money into his brown khakis and shoved his brown thin jacket onto Will’s lap before running off in the direction the drinks were located. The city had built a new park in an attempt to attract more visitors and Will had decided to drag him to the opening event. Merlin cursed at the long line in front of one of the many fully busy drink stands and looked around, the park was fairly nice though not as big as its competing counterpart in the next city over.

If anyone asked him, Merlin found it down right odd and creepy that it had been built right next to the almost vacant cemetery. But the park did offer plenty of shade and some very nice landscape to look at, not to mention enough benches to support the immense amount of people currently attending the event. He couldn’t help but feel some fondness for the park, once he got past the creepiness it was a very nice park and an intense feeling of needing to come back started to form in his stomach, spreading throughout his entire body.

Merlin shook it off as the lack of food in his still empty stomach and moved further up the line, happy that it was moving at a much rapid rate than before. A few minutes later and Merlin was walking towards one of the benches closest to the lake, where Will was sitting. He paused abruptly as he took note of a man, who looked around his late thirties, early forties, sitting next to his friend holding his drawing pad in his hands. They looked to be in deep conversation, Merlin decided to keep moving, pushing the feeling in his gut that the man was the beginning of something he would rather not be a part of.

“Hey Merlin, this guy is Balinor and he was admiring your artwork. He thought it was mine, but I told him you were the talented one.” Will said with a proud smile on his face, he had always admired Merlin’s ability to draw.

“Yeah, you were always more speak-what’s-on-your-mind type of guy.” Merlin teased as he looked at the man, his long hair and beard making him seem older, but adding a sense of calmness to his features.  He traded a drink for a hotdog and took a seat next to his friend, his stomach once more reminding him of how hungry he was.

“Nice to meet you Balinor,” Merlin addressed the man, unsure how to make small talk and then decided on concentrating in finishing his food and drink.

“I have to get going, it was nice to finally get to meet you up-close Merlin. That is some lovely work you have there.” Balinor replied after a while, getting to his feet and bowing at both Will and Merlin. He set the drawing pad back down, glanced once more at Arthur’s portrait and left, quickly disappearing into the crowd.

“That was weird,” Merlin told Will as Balinor’s words stirred a familiar sense of having heard his voice before, somewhere long ago.

“What was weird? You in khaki pants?” Will mocked as he shoved the last piece of his hotdog into his mouth, ketchup and mustard oozing out to stain his chin. Merlin gently shoved his friend and handed him a napkin, the desire to let him walk around with mustard and ketchup on his face getting more enticing by the second.

“I was in the middle of job hunting when you dragged me here.” Merlin reminded his friend as he rested his back on the bench and looked once more around the park. It really was quite beautiful in a simple to the point way. The lake being the biggest attraction, with its deep greens and blue waters floating calmly under an elegant red oak walkway bridge, people crowded the wooden construction at all sides and through it.

“Come on, I have to be getting back.” Merlin said with a hint of sadness in his voice as he stuffed his drawing pad and pencil back into his backpack and flipped it over his shoulder.

“But we haven’t even seen the lake up close or walked the plank.” Will complained as he tossed the dirty napkin into a wastebasket and pointed at the lake, his joke on the pirate reference clearly escaping Merlin’s ear.

Merlin was about to leave, with Will or without him, when he felt voices creep into his mind, he couldn’t quite make them out. He turned his head slightly to the side and closed his eyes trying to lock on them, quickly opening his eyes as one word became very vivid and clear in his mind, “Merlin...” Then as he tried to make sense of it, the voices stopped but something started to pull at him and he could do nothing except move further into the park. He felt unable to control his feet as his brown boots scraped against the grass and the pull became stronger. Merlin stopped between the lake and the walking bridge.

“I thought you wanted to leave?” Will shouted from behind as he made to follow.

I did, Merlin thought to himself as he slowly walked up the crowded bridge. The pulling seemed to stop as soon as he reached the middle of the bridge. A spot against the railing cleared up and Merlin moved to stare at his reflection in the calm waters of the lake, relaxing his elbows against the wooden railing and his chin upon his knuckles.  He kept looking down at the water, catching a glimpse of a few fishes swimming under its calm current, trying to figure out why he had been directed to it and if he was losing his mind again.

It had been almost ten years since he had last had any realistic dreams and hallucinations. The pills had made sure of that. After a few seconds, Merlin concluded that it must be the intense heat and that he was working himself up for no apparent reason. He shook his head and started to move down the bridge, towards the side of the grass line where Will was trying to squeeze through. A glare from the water caught his attention and he turned back to the lake, only to gawk at it with his mouth wide open.

“What the heck?” Merlin asked to no one in particular.

There in the lake reflecting back at him was an image of Arthur, his blond hair radiated in the light and moved slightly against an unseen breeze. Merlin grabbed onto the railing so tight his knuckles turned white. He leaned as far in as he dared and stared in continued fascination at the image. This time Arthur wasn’t wearing just black trousers or fully naked, but some type of medieval armor and what appeared to be actual chainmail, even a sword rested on his belt around his waist completing the Knightly look.

Merlin’s gaze seemed to be entranced by Arthur’s striking eyes, the very same eyes he had just been drawing a while ago. The blonde was even more gorgeous then in his dream and made Merlin’s stomach feel all sorts of weird. What is wrong with me? Merlin thought to himself, he wasn’t gay and had never found the same sex appealing, but for some unexplained reason another look into the Arthur’s eyes had him second guessing himself.  He found himself unable to tear his eyes from the young prince, who for all the logic in the world should not be reflecting in the water.

It was his reflection that should be staring back at him, his ivory skin, high cheekbones, and slightly large ears. The world seemed to slow down and fade as Merlin continued to stare at the water. A raven suddenly flew down and landed on the lake causing small ripples to occur, blurring the image until it was just a mixture of greens and blues once more. Merlin continued to stare long after the bird flew off, but all that was left when the waters calmed again was his own confused reflection.

“Did you guys see that?” Merlin said to the two guys next to him, finally snapping out of the trance.

The look they gave him as if he was stupid for being surprised to see water in a lake gave Merlin the answer he wasn’t expecting. He swallowed hard and looked back at the lake, was he really going crazy? Merlin ran a shaken hand across his pale face and to his hair as he continued to look at the calm waters below. The two guys shook their heads at Merlin and left rather quickly, freeing up space on the still crowded bridge.  Will finally managed to move up the bridge and stood next to Merlin.

“What you staring at?” His friend asked as he slightly shoved Merlin and handed him his jacket before staring down at the lake himself.

Merlin was about to reply when his cellphone rang. He shuffled through his backpack and gave a silent curse when he couldn’t find it. His fingers finally located it. A devilish grin crossed his lips when he saw the name on the screen and he quickly answered.

“Hi Laura how are you?” Merlin spoke into the mic as he pressed the phone against his ear, making sure to add extra volume to his mother’s name, and waited for the reaction he knew would soon come.

“It is mother to you young man.” His mother scolded through the cellphone, her playful hurt voice rung loudly through the speaker.

Merlin tried to muffle his laugh as he moved away from the railing, ignoring the look Will gave him. He could hear his mother laughing through the phone at their inside joke. Laura hated it when he called her by her name, she claimed it made her sound older, though how “mother” failed to do just that was a mystery to Merlin. So obviously he made it his duty to annoy his mother by calling her Laura whenever he could.

“Well besides trying to pack and getting all the paperwork in order, I am fantastic.” Laura added her laughing tone replaced with a much more serious one. “I was calling to remind you to buy Kilgharrah some food on your way back home, he’s completely empty. I am not even half way done here and it’s starting to look like an all-nighter for me.”

“Sure Mom, I am heading to the store right now. See you in a bit.” Merlin replied before hanging up and glancing over at his friend, who was looking at him with a solemn expression.

“I guess this means you are going to leave me stranded here alone huh?” Will said as he jammed his hands into his jean pockets and walked off the bridge, his shoulders sagging.

Merlin quickly put his phone back into his backpack and gave one final look at the lake before descending the bridge the rest of the way. He headed towards his friend and his bike chained near the entrance.

“Come on Will, starting tomorrow night I get to stalk your house 24/7. My mom gave me the ok to stay at your house while she is away on her business trip.”

Will just looked away and leaned on the bike rack as Merlin unlocked his bike, giving him the cold shoulder. “I still don’t know why I can’t stop by the house; it’s not my fault that your lizard loves to get out of its cage.” His friend protested, finally glancing at Merlin.

“You almost turned him into lizard pancakes and managed to break three of my mom’s antique vases while doing it.” Merlin replied giving his friend a sheepish smile and a hug before getting on his bike. “I’ll call you later tonight, ok? We can chat all you want about the unfairness of my mother’s taste and whatnot.”

Not giving his friend time to try and convince him to stay, Merlin pedaled towards the main gates and waved goodbye to Will. He halted, almost falling off his bike when a small boy with red curly hair jumped in front of his path, his black eyes glued on him saying nothing.

“Sorry,” Merlin apologized and moved around the boy, continuing on his way missing the change in the boy’s eyes as they turned a crimson red.

Merlin pressed the breaks and jumped off his bike. It was already getting quite late since he had to take a detour around several blocks due to the crazy traffic that had appeared out of nowhere. Chaining the bike to the railing outside the pet store, he grabbed his bag and rushed inside. Rose, the cashier, was working today and she smiled at Merlin as she handed him his change and lizard food.

“See you around Merlin,” she shyly told him as he left the store.

He waved goodbye to the twenty something year old brunette and finished shoving the food into his bag as he hopped back on his bike. He was just two blocks from his house when someone jumped in front of him. He swerved to avoid hitting them and ended tasting the concrete with his bike pinning his foot down.

“Ouch…what the…” Merlin winched as he turned around and tried to get his foot free.

What was it with people jumping in front of his bike? They really needed to stop doing that, he thought to himself as he looked up at the person in question and felt a knot form in his stomach. Looming over him with his massively toned frame was Max, along with two of his buddies. His black leather jacket and torn jeans did nothing but add to his rebellious and dangerous look, making Merlin wish he was still back at the park debating his sanity.

“Look what we have here; we were so sure we wouldn’t get the chance to see you again after missing you at the high school graduation.” Max said sarcastically as he yanked Merlin up from the front of his shirt and towards him, an evil grin plastered on his lips. “Lucky for us we were wrong.”

“I have to get going, just leave me alone.” Merlin struggled to say as his was tossed against a garbage dump, its rusted metal frame squeaked at the impact.

He landed on the cold ground hard and almost had his breath knocked out of him. The clouds, already a gray tone covering the sun, seemed to yell a warning to Merlin, who didn’t want to think of what Max was thinking of doing in a dark and dirty alleyway.

“What was that Merlin? I didn’t quite catch that.” Max growled as his eyes landed on Merlin still resting against the dumpster, his feet grinding into the pavement as he moved closer to him.

“I haven’t done anything to you, come on stop it already.” Merlin said gaining some fighting strength as he stood up, leaning against the cold metal container, his eyes landing on his stuff still scattered on the sidewalk behind Max.“I haven’t done anything to you, come on stop it already.” Merlin said gaining some fighting strength as he stood up, leaning against the cold metal container, his eyes landing on his stuff still scattered on the sidewalk behind Max.

He never understood why Max always insisted on bulling him ever since his first day of high school, they had been pretty good friends before then. Max moved towards Merlin, signaling for his two friends to block the only way out, the alleyway being a dead end. Merlin tensed against the chilly air before pushing the fear he felt back down and with one final deep breath he rushed at Max.