It's been almost two years, Arthur thinks, as he looks out the window of his office. Two years since he woke up in a grassy field where once the lake of Avalon had been.
Arthur shook his head and looked at the calendar at the wall right next to the glass door that separated him from the hallway.
In bold letters, mirrored, because you were supposed to read it from the other side, it read his name. No “this office belongs to the business manager” or something like that.
Whoever worked here, knew who he was.
Or rather, what he was in this timeline.
Arthur was the one who founded this company. He was the one who invested in it and made it grow. And about the same time, he made the fantastic mistake to invest in bit coins. In the past two years, the useless coin gained it's worth into the thousands.
He wasn't just known as their boss, he was known as the brains of this business. He was known as the man who came with nothing and made a fortune from it.
But he was also known as a man for his peers. He talked to his employees regularly. He granted them paid leave, health insurance and half a year ago he had begun a program to build houses for them to live in for free. And that was just the minimum he found necessary.
Most other business companies called him a lucky fool.
But truth was, keeping his workers happy and healthy and entertained and stress free, improved their work.
It made them happier and willing to bring ideas to their boss that helped Camelot industries to rise even higher among the competiotion.
Arthur hadn't founded the company to become rich. He had started this business, because he didn't know what else to do. A man without a passport, a man without work history, without the right education, he had to start from zero. Nobody wanted him to work anywhere out of fear, he may be a criminal.
He knew nothing about anything and had to teach himself everything that he faced.
It frustrated him a lot. But he fought it every day.
And now, here he was.
His life was calming down. The young business was finally flourishing and there was no one who could take that away from him.
Still.... Arthur was not happy.
He had been so overwhelmed by this new world, that he found himself unable to grief for the people he had lost.
And by now he knew, he was the only one from the medieval times that made it back from Avalon.
No Lancelot, no Gwen, no Gwaine, no Percival....
Heck, he would have been fine with George!
But he was alone.
Arthur put his face in his hands and twirled his pencil around.
Then he opened a new browser in his computer and searched for more history books on the Arthurian legend and it's influences on the modern world.
Arthur must admit, he was a little obsessed with it. There were so many fantasy novels about it and none of them made any sense.
The years had grabbed the basics and twisted them in so many ways, that they barely resembled the truth behind it.
Arthur had shuddered, when he found books that told him how many dictators based their actions on HIS work.
Still, Arthur couldn't stop.
He still didn't know everything that had changed in the past 1500 years.
But he wanted, no, needed to know.
Arthur sighed a rattled breath. 1500 years. He still remembered the day he figured that out.
It had been only a week after he woke up in Avalon. He had asked several people for help, only to find out that he didn't speak their language.
A homeless man (a man who was now chef secretary of Arthur's company) had managed to teach him a few words. And because Avalon's magic had granted Arthur the ability to learn everything in incredibly advanced speed, Arthur was soon able to speak English fluently.
Arthur hadn't even dared to mention Camelot to this man. After being almost overrun by a truck, he had already known that quite some time must have passed.
And he was afraid, that a new king may want him dead, should he find out he was still alive.
But eventually, the man, quite obsessed with the legend himself, had told Arthur everything he knew and imagined. At some point he had invited Arthur to a trip around the area where Camelot was assumed to have resided...
When Arthur asked how long ago that was, he got an answer that brought him to his knees.
He still remembers crying in front of that stranger. And he remembers his inability to explain what that meant for him.
Arthur was alone. Everyone and everything he ever loved and cherished.... dead. Destroyed. Gone forever.
Ironically, the one thing that salvaged his grief these days was reading the books that didn't even center around himself or resembled the truth in any way. But those around Merlin.
Arthur laughed out loud, when he had found the first book about his servant. They got the story so wrong, but he was delighted to find that not everything remembered was about himself.
He was happy to read about the lady of the lake and the books about “Sir Gawain”. Or those about Galahad, who was definitely not Lancelot's son, but a squire, when Arthur founded the round table.
Arthur loved reading about them. Seeing familiar names that even after 1500 years were not forgotten. It kept him sane.
Sometimes he could mention one of their names and have a heated discussion about whether or not Lancelot was such a bad guy for falling in love with Guinevere, Arthur almost forgot those people were just fans.
They had not been there. They didn't know the facts.
Speaking of facts....
Arthur saw BBC Merlin. And he had NEVER felt his heart constrict so much. Because.... wow. Those people kind of nailed it.
Sure, the perspective was from Merlin's point of view. And all those times Merlin had “saved his life” were a bit exaggerated (there was no way Merlin did all that by himself), but Uther was portrayed almost perfectly.
Arthur's decisions had actually happened that way. It was just so amazing to watch.
If also a bit insulting.
Arthur had researched about the series, hoping to find the genius whose interpretation was so close to the truth, but he only found an interview from the producer who mentioned “the man who inspired the show” that gave no name or address about the true genius behind the series. (1)
So Arthur searched online for auctions about more books. (He did read fanfiction too sometimes. It was cheap content and he loved it... secretly. He even read the ones that made his toes curl from cringe and embarrassment. He just needed to see his friends again. This was the closest he would ever get to that. No matter how strange that may feel in certain context.)
Let's just say, Arthur wasted a lot of his time just reading about his dead friends.
A News article popped up in his research. It was advertisement and Arthur was inclined to delete it. But then he saw: “Pride parade outbreak in front of Camelot industries. Several protesters are blocking the doors”.
Arthur frowned and stood up to look out the spacey windows of his office. He looked down and saw an ocean of people with signs in their hands pointing at him.
Arthur's frown deepened. Seriously?
He didn't even have anything to do with them. Arthur had been tired of fighting the day he woke up in Avalon. He had fought magic for so long, only to find out that his most loyal friend had been protecting him with it.
He didn't find it right to add to a war that wasn't his to fight. That he knew so little about.
He had always kept his mouth shut about pride related matters. Chances were, he would just end up at the wrong side of the battle again.
Arthur had been here for two years. This fight had gone on for centuries, as far as he knew.
Arthur wasn't an idiot, he knew what this was about. He just didn't understand why people had to fight for the right to love whoever they wanted.
True, in his own time, homosexuality had been frowned upon. But only if you did it in public. And truth be told, if you openly kissed a woman in public, you got a similar reaction.
You would have to live with the comment to have “defiled” her and therefore ruining her life.
Arthur had fought for love himself. But that too, was because of his royal status. And he had loved someone who didn't fit the profile of a future queen.
Arthur shook his head.
Weren't they living in a new time where people could express their love whichever way they wanted?
He had read many articles about these topics. There were far too many specific terms to remember them all. But they were mostly positive and about self acceptance.... at least the ones he had found. (Not to mention all those fanfictions he was reading. *Wink wink*)
Couldn't they just be themselves and not care what other people thought?
Instead of pestering HIM about it? Did they really need HIS attention? HIS confirmation that it was okay for them to love someone?
What did their love life have to do with Arthur? Or his company. Or anyone really?
It's literally.... none of his business.
It's not like he was killing them for falling in love. He owned a company, god damn it. He didn't make the law! Nor did he tell anyone who to love.
He just kept out of it.
Arthur sighed yet again. He wanted to go home. Not deal with vandalism of a few individuals. To be honest, Arthur wasn't even sure who did the vandalism.
There weren't just pride supporters out there. There were also anti's. And people who just saw an opportunity.
And lots of nonsense talk about “God's will.”
God never said anything about gays, you moron's. He did say, however, not to speak ill in his name. (So shut the fuck up, mind you.)
Arthur went for the doors outside. They couldn't leave until HE made a statement.
He knew that. And if he said the wrong thing, he'd either have people rioting.... or people rioting. It didn't really matter, what he said, did it? One side would always be angry.
Arthur really wished, Merlin was here. The man had strangely wise advises in moment's like these.
He could really need one of those moments as about now.
“Mr Pendragon. You should step away from the doors. People might see you and think that's reason enough to break in.”, Arthur's newest assistant asked. She had been here for two weeks only. And she was a constant mess of a person.
She was merely 21. She was reliable, if also clumsy. She had a friendly round face. Probably a bit overweight. She did her job exceedingly well. But she seemed conflicted most of the time.
“Penelope, I don't know what to do.”, Arthur relied on her a lot.
“I suppose they will expect a statement.”
“Why.”, Arthur asked, getting more and more frustrated. “This is not my fight.”, he turned to her in confusion.
Penelope shuffled in her stance. “Sir, I don't want to be rude.... but it DOES concern you.”
Arthur frowned again, as he turned to her. “How's that?”
“Well...”, she swallowed. “Gay people have been hunted for years. In some places in the world, people still get killed for it.”
Arthur's eyes snapped open. They WHAT?
“I know it's an uncomfortable matter to many people. But.... When companies show their support, it's like a promise to treat their employee's with respect, regardless of who they are.
They say to the world, that's okay to be yourself. To love who you love. It's important to many people that you make a statement FOR them, because how else can they know for sure they will be safe and not be prejudiced against?”
She shrank upon his gaze. “I'm so sorry, Sir. I didn't mean to....”
“Well you SHOULD apologize!”, someone suddenly shouted out from the other side of the room.
“Camelot industries is NO place for fags!”
Arthur stared at him. He knew the man. He was … what? Thirty four? About Arthur's own age at the very least. He was tall and had a very serious face.
“I'm sorry, Sir?”, Arthur asked, ready to test him.
“Mr. Pendragon.”, the man halted, as he walked over, realizing who he was talking to.
“Sir, you CANNOT allow those manipulative bastards to take over Camelot!”, he sounded outraged.
“They will destroy everything you worked for!”
“Elliot....”, Arthur started, finally remembering the man's name. “How exactly would they destroy it? I need you to elaborate.” Because.... that outside... was demonstration. Not an army.
“Well, they want to turn this company into a massive gay bar!”
Arthur blinked. That sounded ridiculous. What kind of goal was that?
“We do NOT!”, Penelope shouted out all of a sudden. As if that was a legit argument and Arthur stupid enough to believe it. Anger visible on her face. Arthur felt insulted.
Elliot and Arthur turned to her.
“See?”, Elliot pointed at her in triumph. “They already infiltrated the company!”
“What are you talking about? What do you mean infiltrated? She's working here like everyone else!”
“She's one of them, Sir!”, Elliot spat in disgust as if that explained anything.
Penelope stepped back, realization suddenly washing over her face. Her eyes widened, as she backed away. Yeah right.... dangerous. She was not the dangerous one. Arthur knew that, the moment he eyed the rage in Elliot's eyes and compared it to the fear in Penelope's. He was towering above her. She was cowering away from him. That tells you everything you need to know about the difference in power if two people.
“Stop, both of you.”, Arthur stepped between them.
“Penelope has done nothing wrong. YOU will not assault her for whichever reason you have. If you have any complains, send them to me.
Her private life has nothing to do with yours. Leave her alone and go back to work.”, Arthur glared at him.
Elliot looked like he wanted to say more, but then he scoffed and turned around.
“Are you okay?”, Arthur asked Penelope who was slowly standing back up.
“I'm sorry, Sir. But I'm not.”, she shook her head. It was lowered and she was biting her lip.
“This is, why you need to make a statement.
So that people like me know whether or not we're safe.”, she looked up and directly into Arthur's eyes.
“I cannot work here, if this is the treatment I have to expect from my coworkers. I will find something else. I resign.”, she pushed her clip board into Arthur's startled arms. Clearly done and beyond frustrated. So much, that it had turned into acceptance already. Just how long had she faced situations like that?
“But-”, Arthur called after her.
“I'm really sorry, Sir. You are a good man. But if you think this is the first time this ever happened to me, you're wrong. He's not the only one here who thinks like that.
And if you don't make a statement, then there is no guarantee for me that I will be safe from now on. I cannot take that risk just because you saw injustice ONCE.”
“I see.”, Arthur muttered, quite confused and in disbelieve, he watched her walk out the door.
If that wasn't the first time she had been treated like that... why had he received no complains? How long has this been going on?
Wait a second.... Arthur's eyes widened. Elliot was in charge of taking the people's complains to him.
He covered his face once again. He was doing it again, wasn't he? No matter what he did, he was always somehow on the wrong side of things. Not making a statement suddenly felt just as bad as making the wrong one.
Now he really needed Merlin back. The man always knew what to do or say to make Arthur feel better and ALSO make better decisions.
Couldn't they have at least send Merlin with him into this new complicated world?
Arthur shook his head. He may be thinking “at least Merlin”, but he knew that having his best friend here was an even bigger request than asking for his wife.
It was funny, how Arthur still couldn't imagine his life without Merlin. He wouldn't be who he was without him.
He wouldn't be the man he always wanted to be without him.
Camelot would have never been what it was had it not been for Merlin's council and his friendship.
Merlin was such a huge part of his life, and to Arthur.... he was not gone. In the most terrible sense.
Merlin had never disappeared. He was everywhere in his absence.
Arthur saw him, when he made himself some breakfast, because he knew if Merlin were here, he would have made AND brought it to him.
When Arthur put on the TV, he wondered if Merlin would tell him electricity was just a modern form of magic.
When Arthur saw the news, he wondered if he would find Merlin somewhere in there.
Or, if Merlin would have written those articles differently, if he were here. After all, Merlin did write a lot of Arthur's speeches in the past.
Every assistant Arthur ever had was capable. But after a while they all felt wrong. He didn't fire them for incompetence, he “promoted” them or they resigned themselves, because he was never truly satisfied.
The truth is, Arthur didn't need competent assistants. He needed one who was competent, but also insolent and completely incompetent at the same time.
He needed Merlin.
That was not a desire he could compare to that of seeing his wife again.
Arthur depended on Merlin. Far longer than he had on her. Arthur knew, he would not have been deserving of her, had it not been for Merlin's influence.
It was strange to think of him like that.
Arthur liked to have Merlin in those books. It gave him a vocal point. That, if he needed his friend, he would know where to find him.
It had lessened his daily distractions a lot. Arthur was finally at a point, where he wouldn't turn at every black haired guy who passed him on the street.
Or every brown jacket.
Or every red scarf.
Jesus Christ, Arthur needed to fire Elliot.
“I'm FIRED?”, Elliot was white as sheet paper, as he stared at Arthur in disbelieve.
Arthur had rarely ever fired anyone. Arthur was always willing to give employee's second chances.
These jobs were said to be the safest and securest work places one could have.
It was hard to get in. It was even harder to get out. Let alone fired.
“I have seen first hand how you bullied one of your coworkers. And as to her statement, this was not the first time. I can not allow you to abuse your position like that.”, Arthur tried to be calm.
“I'm fired because of that lesbian? You should fire HER!”
“Why?”, Arthur dared to question.
“Because she's gay”, he said it as if that was an argument.
“I don't understand your point. Her relationships have nothing to do with you or her work. Her private life is NONE of your concern. You disrespecting her in the hallways, and spreading your hatred among my employee's, is MY concern. It disrupts the sense of familiarity that I'm trying to achieve here.
You've made this place unsafe for your fellow coworkers and made it toxic. I need you to leave.”
“Your opinion can be your opinion. I don't care how you feel about other people's relationships in your private life. But you have no right to act like this against anyone. Regardless of their circumstances.”
“She was a SPY!”, Elliot finally exclaimed, grasping for the last straws.
“I had to do something!”
“Spy for what?”, Arthur was getting frustrated.
“Not what, for WHO. For this Emerson guy!”
Arthur frowned. “Emerson?”, he asked, completely confused now. Who was that?
“She was exchanging mails with him! He's the leader of that pride parade group! You should see his mails. He's pissed at you for some reason!
He literally hates you. Claims you were an impostor or something!”
“And what did Penelope reply?”, Arthur raised an eyebrow in confusion.
“That she checked your records and found out that you just appeared out of nowhere. She tried to figure out, if you were hiding your past, but she couldn't find anything.”
“Okay?”, Arthur was confused. He had nothing to hide.
“Aren't you mad? See? You should fire HER!”
“Elliot. I told you before, if you have any complains or worries, get them to me. Don't invade other people's privacy by reading their mail. That's illegal.
Also, Penelope already resigned because of you.
So you're still fired.”
Elliot's rage was starting to overflow.
“Well.”, he said and deliberately pushed a vase of his desk. It unnecessarily shattered into pieces and splattered dirt and water and flowers everywhere.
“Good luck finding someone else who will keep the gay creeps away from this company. This Emerson guy is currently holding a life interview right in front of the building.
Where he tells everyone what a monster you are.
Good day, Sir.”
Arthur stared after the man, as he left the building with wide strides.
Arthur nudged his foot at the shattered vase at the ground. Now THAT was unprofessional.
How Arthur missed the days, where he could put people in the stocks for that.
Or say: “What a man does in his free time is none of my business” and just pretend he never saw or heard anything. It used to be so easy.
Arthur sighed and crouched down to clean up the mess.
And a sharp memory of Merlin doing this all the time in the past overcame him.
He shook his head as he almost cut himself on a shard.
It took him merely five minutes and a whole workload of emotions to do this.
All those times he threw vases of his own table and let Merlin clean them up.... he missed those times. And also kind of regretted those actions.
Then, he went downstairs again to see what interview Elliot had been talking about.
It was true, there they stood. A man.... probably also about Arthur's age, was standing there, being interviewed by a couple of camera men and a woman with a microphone.
He was saying something.
But all Arthur could see was that was covered in paint. He wore a colorful shirt as well.
As the leader of the pride parade would.
His hair was also colored with temporary hair spray paint. It was rainbow colored.
Arthur couldn't see his face.
Curse those glass doors. They just weren't big enough to see much.
Arthur grabbed his phone and tried to find the interview online. Ah... yes.... there it was.
So, Arthur said down on a chair in the waiting area, where many of his employee's were discussing how long this would take and if it was true that Arthur had just fired Elliot.
Arthur strained himself not to listen to them and focus instead on the interview.
Then.... Suddenly it was easy to blend them out.
Arthur blinked and stood up almost immediately. “No.”, he mouthed, all attention suddenly turning towards him.
But this couldn't be a coincidence. This was no mistake, it couldn't be!
This was him... this was...
Right in front of the building.
Arthur cursed, and ran towards the door.
“Sir.... unless you're not part of the company, you shouldn't leave the building...”, an officer outside said to him.
“Especially if you're...... huh.... you're Arthur Pendragon.”, the man looked startled.
Of course they must have been waiting for him to give an interview.
“Shut up.”, Arthur didn't care if this man was a police officer. He was the owner of this company, he could go wherever he wanted.
There they were. The camera team. Of course, upon spotting him, they turned towards him.
The interviewer seemed confused, as she said: “It seems, Arthur Pendragon, owner of Camelot industries has just left the building. He's.... heading towards us?”
Arthur didn't care, he had to confirm it.
“Ha! So the impostor is finally.... finally-”
Merlin turned around and stopped. His eyes widened, as Arthur's did as well. They paused where they stood. Hearts beating fast, racing each other almost.
Arthur knew those eyes.
They recognized each other. And they recognized that they recognized each other.
“This is impossible.”, Merlin whispered, the moment Arthur decided to sprint towards him.
Neither of them saw, how the glass doors behind them were suddenly flooded with Arthur's employee's.
And Arthur didn't care that Elliot and Penelope were both in the crowd, watching in shock or horror as Arthur swept Merlin up in the biggest bone crushing hug any of them had ever received.
“Merlin!”, Arthur whispered in disbelieve as he swung him around. Laughing hard and completely ignorant of the paint covering Merlin's face that now printed onto his own skin.
A desperate laugh escaped his lips, as he beamed at Merlin who stared back like a startled stoat.
“You're … here.”, Merlin whispered, like talking normally would break him apart.
“I've been for two years. What about you?”
Merlin was tearing up, completely in disbelieve.
“I never left.”, Merlin said, dumbfounded, as if he didn't register what he was saying.
Arthur stopped. “You never....”
Tears spilled from Merlin's eyes. And Arthur knew precisely what this meant. Merlin never left, meant he never died.
Faintly, Arthur heard Merlin's last conversation with Morgana repeated in his head.
“I'm a priestess of the old religion. No mortal blade can kill me.”, Morgana had said. And Merlin had not only known that, he had known a way to defeat her anyway.
Because... Merlin was the most powerful warlock who ever walked the earth. He too... must be immortal. If he was stronger than Morgana, then he must be.
Arthur couldn't help but tear up as well as he took in his friend. Of course, Merlin was always the suffering one. Always on the oppressed side of the world's prejudice.
This.... Arthur knew.... was enough to tell him what he needed to do. Arthur had failed him 1500 years ago. He wouldn't make the same mistake twice.
Neither of them realized that this interaction was broadcasted national wide. Or that they were filmed at all.
Merlin was covered in the colors of the pan pride flag. Arthur recognized it, because Merlin wore a shirt that had the wikipedia definition printed on it.
“Finally.”, Merlin said, a lopsided grin not yet managing to cover up the tear smudged paint on his face. And then, suddenly, nothing mattered anymore. Not the paint that Merlin smeared on Arthur's face as he grabbed him by the jaw, not the tears that Arthur could already taste from the air alone.
Arthur found himself rendered speechless.
A pair of lips took away his ability to breathe. Locked his words away and made him gasp in a strange mix of shock and relieve.
Like a dehydrated man in a desert, Merlin clang to him.
On a different day, Arthur would have wanted to say the kiss had been an accident. That Merlin had initiated it and that none of this was of Arthur's doing.
He would go back to his ignorance and denial. Deny that he was kissing back just as desperate. Just as emotional and longing. Just as starved from the man as Merlin was of him.
Arthur had lived two years without Merlin. And in between, he realized - he was lost without him.
Completely and utterly lost. He had never known just how hollow he had felt before Merlin entered his life. Were it two days or two years that Merlin disappeared, Arthur didn't care, as long as Merlin was here now and would never leave again.
Arthur thought Merlin was dead. But here he was. Happy and ALIVE and here in his arms.
Arthur could feel Merlin's heart beat, where his hands faintly brushed his neck.
He could feel the warmth radiating of the other man's skin. And he could smell the almost forgotten scent of herbs and leather underneath the paint and whatever scented soap that was.
Merlin already owned his soul. If his body was what he demanded next, Arthur was more than willing to give him what he wanted.
It was a technical error that made Arthur realize where he was and what was happening just now.
Almost simultaneously, they broke apart to find that the microphone had somehow gotten too close to... maybe a speaker, who knew. At the very least it was making this very annoying loud sound that would make you cover your ears.
The reporter had dropped the microphone.
She blushed heavily and apologized, as she bend down and picked it up.
Arthur blinked, still holding on to Merlin and then he glanced over, just to make sure he was still there.
“Mr... Mr. Pendragon.”, the reporter cleared her throat and straightened her suit.
“The... erm.. the audience wanted to... they wanted to know what you think of.. lbgt rights.”, she said this stagnantly. Like every part of that sentence felt ridiculous to ask.
“Oh... that.”, Arthur said and had a weird feeling that he should probably wipe his mouth.
It was the same feeling that you had, when you ate chocolate and someone tells you, there is something on your lip and you're anxious to get it off, because you can't see where it is or if it's gone already.
Arthur ignored it.
He cleared his throat himself and took the microphone from her.
“Up until now, I have always believed that business and private affairs should be treated separately.
This is why I never made a statement.
I did not realize that by keeping quiet, I gave way for prejudices in my company.
A very wise woman once told me, words mean nothing, if your actions betray you.
I decided not to speak, because I thought keeping everyone safe by giving them insurances was the one true action I could take.
I realize now, that sometimes, speaking IS an action.
And I want to say that everyone, regardless of heritage, history or sexuality, is welcome at Camelot industries.
I will not tolerate workplace bullying any longer. I will make sure, that everyone can speak their mind.
I have come from nothing. I fought to get here. I want things to be easier for whoever chooses to want to work here.
All I want for them is to love their work and make a living that is affordable for everyone.”
Merlin was beaming at him and Arthur smiled as he felt that radiant smile beaming like sunlight against him.
The reporter looked stunned and nodded calmly.
“May we ask questions about how you know each other? This man JUST gave a two hour interview about how much he hates you.
I must say... I'm confused.”
“Right.”, Arthur nodded and grinned as he took in Merlin's guilty expression.
“Long story short, I thought he was dead.”
The reporter blinked. “What?”, she asked.
“You thought I was dead? YOU were dead! You literally were.”, Merlin smacked him on the head.
“It's not MY fault you know!”, Arthur growled back.
“You made me wait 1500 years, Arthur. I have a RIGHT to complain.”
“You bastard.”, Arthur laughed back. “Hey, Merlin, do you per chance need a job?”
“I will not be your servant again.”
The reporter would not be the only person who was completely stunned by this conversation and would never be able to understand.
But you, dear readers, do. Their bickering will be reviewed on Youtube again and again. Their view counts growing into the millions.
At one point, they will open their own channel named @twosidesofthesamebitcoin, and send updates on their relationship.
Because... sometimes to speak is an action. And Arthur was more than willing to talk. (Unless he was alone with Merlin. There were lots of times they didn't need to talk. Or didn't want to. They were preoccupied.)
Camelot industries, despite market expectations, rose even further in worth.
Arthur was 90 % sure Merlin used his magic to stabilize it.
It wasn't quite a kingdom. But it was close enough.