“mommy, why do I get the title ‘The White Enchantress’? I mean, mommy is known as Sorceress, but King Uther called me as ‘The White Enchantress’ after we healed him”, Gwen lowered her book on the table, looking up to her mother “is there any differences of the titles between those who use magics?”.
“of course, it is. Let me explain it to you. Sit”, Merlin settled her on her lap before opening book ‘Magic and Sorcery’ on the table and explaining the different and the reason of why someone who use magic or the magicians were distinguished as Wizard (Witch for a female), Mage, Sorcerer (Sorceress for a female), Warlocks (a man who anomalously showed the same abilities as a witch) and Enchanter (Enchantress for a female) “for example, I’m a black magic user and known as Sorceress because of having an innate gift with magic, as well as having mystical or magical ancestry. For you, Gwen, you are referred as the Enchantress because you often practice a type of magic that produces no physical effects on objects or people but rather deceives or manipulate the observers or targets through the use of illusions and hallucinations. Some references even wrote that they can cast the good or bad fate to someone, when they’re powerful enough”.
“...but it’s written that Enchantresses in particular practice this form of magic, often to seduce”, Gwen narrowed her eyes incredulously before turning to Merlin in disbelief, whined “mom~ instead of train me with sorcery to be more like you as Sorceress, why do you teach me to be the Enchantress instead?”.
For a split second when Merlin merely smiled down to her and not answered her yet, Gwen could hear Merlin’s mind “because as someone who will stand side by side with the King as the Queen, you will need it in the future. That’s why, you need to be strong, as someone fated to be the Queen”.
Gwen dumbfounded to hear it but before she even could process it, Merlin tapped her nose with teasing smile “hey, I never wish you to be my replacement. I wish you can surpass me”.
Gwen lifted her arms and beamed up “I will do my best, mom?!”.
Merlin chuckled and ruffled her hair “I’m thrilled to see it”.
Back to their lesson, Gwen noticed something “nee, mom... other than messenger, mercenary, spy and assassin, Mr. Tristan also a Warlock, right? Written on the book that Warlock are distinguished from wizards as creating forbidden "pacts" with powerful creatures to harness their innate magical gifts. Because he has abilities like a witch and he has—”, Gwen blinked her eyes innocently and stopped her speech when Merlin put her finger on her lips as she turning her head and looking up to her “...mom?”.
“Gwen”, Merlin lowered her finger with grim expression “whatever ‘powerful creatures’ you have seen within Tristan, it’s a secret. Do you understand?”.
Gwen covered her mouth and gasped “I’m so sorry, mom!? I don’t mean to—”.
“no, my little one. I’m not mad to you, really, but...”, Merlin shook her head “just... don’t say anything about it in front of everyone, especially Tristan, okay?”.
Gwen nodded feverishly “because it’s secret”.
Merlin tilted her head to the side “but why did you bring up Tristan on our conversation, anyway?”.
Instead of giving answer, Gwen asked again “why did people get married in the first place if in the end they would divorce, mommy?”.
Merlin rolled her eyes “and why do you ask about it?”.
“because... you had married with Mr. Tristan once, right? But then you divorced with him...”, Gwen trailed off, had reluctantly revealed and she realized she shouldn’t ask about it when she saw Merlin’s frozen expression.
She thought she had made fatal mistake when the corner of her eyes caught the huge man in front of the door (seemed like he came here to do his daily examination with Merlin). Even if she was still a child, ever since she had earned this power, she learned to ‘read’ people better and thanks to that, she knew several kind of emotions just with one look. Like this time, Gwen could see ‘jealousy’ in between (insteresting, she thought) ‘pride’ and ‘humility’ twirled within Escanor’s inner turmoils. She did what kids usually did when they did something wrong that ended up messing with adults; ran away. Call her coward, she didn’t mind, but she was truly afraid of Escanor’s and Merlin’s state of minds right now.
Snatching her dolphin doll on the table, she jumped from Merlin’s lap and plopped down to the ground before running outside with a single pray for her mother that Merlin could talk properly with Escanor (considering the time of the day), exclaimed “ah?! I forgot?! I promised to play with Ellie?! Good bye, mommy?! Good bye, uncle Escanor?!”.
Escanor only stared to the running girl who turned to the corner and disappeared before looking back to Merlin with wide eyes. After several minutes that felt like eternity, Merlin stood up and welcomed Escanor with sweet smile “oh, I don’t realize that you’ve come. Come in”.
When she turned to the corner, Gwen bumped into Meliodas who caught her before she fell to the floor on her butt “whoops!? Watch out. Why so hurry, li’l Gwen?”.
Looking up to Meliodas and Gowther in front of her, Gwen crouched her body and covered her face in shame “I messed up again, dad?! If there’s a hole, just bury me somewhere!?”.
Gowther used his ‘Invasion’ magic to see Gwen’s mind before explaining to Meliodas about what had happened just now.
Carrying Gwen on his arms, Meliodas ruffled her hair “nah, you acted like an adult again. Don’t worry, they will be okay. Shall we check them out now?”.
Hesitantly, Gwen nodded her head before the three of them peeked to Merlin’s lab and they saw Merlin and Escanor speaking with high tension.
Merlin realized the deep scowl on her comrade’s face “what’s wrong, Escanor?”.
“I figured out”.
“figured out what?”.
“...that night I asked you, whether Tristan was your ex-lover or somebody else for you and you answered that he’s just your childhood friend, like your little brother. I know it’s your privacy and it’s only your right to keep it as a secret or to reveal it, but still...”, Escanor crossed his arms before his chest and sighed heavily “ah, forget it, it’s just my stupid pride being hurt. I feel like you don’t believe me at all”.
“...what I told you about Tristan is the truth”, Merlin smiled sadly before pulling out a picture, offering it to Escanor “it’s Tristan with Isolde and Irina, his late wife and his late daughter”.
Escanor’s eyes widened when he saw that Isolde, Tristan’s wife had so many resemblances with Merlin especially their face and body structure. The only differences you could tell between them was only the colors of their hairs and eyes. Merlin had dark hair and golden eyes while Isolde had long wavy brunette hair and golden eyes that identical with Merlin’s. The daughter, Irina was like the copy of her mother and Merlin, but with her short straight blonde hair that reached her shoulder and piercing golden eyes, Irina looked like mini-Merlin. One last thing Escanor realized, instead of having silver hair, Tristan had blonde hair here.
Looking up to Merlin, Escanor trailed off in bafflement “Merlin, this is...”.
“yeah, like you see... Isolde, she was my little sister... Though, she was just my half-sister, through our mother. Isolde passed away not too long after she gave birth Irina and as if she couldn’t survive without her mother, Irina passed away too, only several days after her mother’s. Oh, about Irina’s blonde hair, she’s got it from Tristan”.
Escanor could see it on the picture but he raised his eyebrow “but Tristan has silver hair when we met him?”.
Merlin narrowed her eyes “Tristan, he was born with blonde hair like his father and blue eyes like his mother, but then he... he’s been going through A LOT...”.
Escanor nodded in understanding “due to stress”.
“yes. Also, ‘Irina’ is the name that Tristan prepared for his daughter and ‘Gwen’ is the name that Isolde prepared for her daughter but in the end, Isolde gave in and told him to use ‘Irina’ for their daughter instead. Maybe... just if Irina could survive, she would be a good friend with Gwen...”, Merlin rubbed her temple and said forlornly “what happened between us after that... I and Tristan, we were in need of companions and it happened, just like that, we were together for a while”.
No matter how long ‘for a while’ here, it was in the past, but still, Escanor couldn’t help it because he couldn’t bear of thinking that someone might hurt Merlin “the reason behind your divorce with him... did he treat you poorly?”.
“oh no, of course not!? Tristan is a good man, just like his father. He’s a very kind person, genuine and through. treated me great. However, part of me could no longer bear the guilt, for taking what my little sister’s mine and I thought what we felt to each others, between me and Tristan... it’s not Love”, Merlin clarified and crossed her arms before her chest, offering thin smile "then again, I’m the Boar Sin of Gluttony. I only know how to take, not to give selflessly without discretion”.
“who decided it?”, Escanor knitted his eyebrow “it’s not your decision to be made”.
“not change the fact I can’t give what he wanted and deserved to have.... I can’t give him children due to my own circumstances”, Merlin sighed and narrowed her eyes “one similarity between Tristan and me, we have the darkness crept within our heart and we don’t even hope or try to defend and lean on our partner. I realized it’s unhealthy relationship for us, so rather than wasting his time with me, it’d be better if he could find another woman who deserve him more than me”.
Escanor took a step forward, hovering over Merlin “even if he doesn’t belong to you?”.
Merlin merely nodded with sincere smile “even if he doesn’t belong to me, as long as he can be happy, I’m fine with it and I can live with it. After what have been happened to him, I hope nothing of him but his happiness. Tied in relationship or not, he is still my family”.
Escanor shook his head in disbelief “for someone dependable and genius, you’re surprisingly stupid”.
Merlin didn’t know she should it as insult or innuendo “...excuse me? why would you say something ridiculous like that?”.
“because when I said it’s not your decisiou to be made—”, Escanor touched her chin and lifted her head up “—I really mean it, that you deserve to be happy as well”.
Looking up to the huge man hovering above her, Merlin’s eyes widened “...Escanor?”.
Meliodas covered Gwen’s eyes before he made the mad dash.
Once Meliodas put her down, Gwen looked around in confusion because Meliodas had taken her to the garden where she usually played with the princesses “daddy? Why did we run away and why did you cover my eyes just now?”.
“to save your innocence, dear”, Meliodas ruffled her hair before turning her body, lightly pushing her to where Elizabeth, Margaret and Veronica had waited for her “now, you know Escanor and Merlin will be alright, just play with Elizabeth and the princesses, just forget whatever you saw and heard, okay?”.
“...okay?”, tilting her head in confusion, Gwen blinked innocently before turning to her friends.
Meliodas stood and shook his head “man, I guess I have to talk with those two later”.
“nee, Gwen, would you be Lady Merlin’s successor?”, Veronica tilted her head “I mean, yeah, we know it already that you’re her daughter, you’re gonna be her successor but does it mean you would join Seven Deadly Sins to replace your mother’s place as the next Boar Sin of Gluttony or would you join the Deadly Sins as their new member with your own title?”.
“I don’t know”, Gwen lowered her book “now you talk about it, maybe I prefer the latter. Speaking of which, what do you think the title of Sins that befitting for me?”.
Veronica shrugged “I don’t know, why don’t you just ask your mom or your daddy or other members of Seven Deadly Sins?”.
“speaking of which...”, Margaret touched her chin “are you sure, your right eye is okay now?”.
Ever since she earned this ‘power’, her so-called ‘gift’ that she considered as ‘curse’ at first, Gwen had let her bang grow longer to cover her blue-colored right-eye using her bang so people only could see her emerald-green-colored left eye. Gwen did it deliberately because for several months after she earned her power, she felt too overwhelmed by people’s heart and feelings. It sometimes made her sick and at the times like those, usually Merlin or Meliodas would carry her who crying on their shoulder. It soothed her to her deepest heart, really.
“hm...”, staring to Elizabeth who also covered her right eye using her bang, Veronica pulled Gwen to stand side by side with Elizabeth before nodding her head in approval “I just realized... you two looked like twin this way?!”.
“eh, but it’s no way”, Gwen waved it off, lifting her forefinger up “remember that I and Ellie were born on the different time? not to mention Ellie is also older several months than me and we have different traits”.
Wrapping her arms around Gwen’s neck and pulling her into tight embrace from behind, Elizabeth laughed brightly “but you are our little sister too, Gwen?! I hope we always can be together like this?!”.
Gwen laughed brightly and the princesses laughed along with her. Without they knew, their peaceful days would be ended soon.
Everything happened too fast that day. It was started by two princesses (Veronica and Elizabeth) were playing the hide and seek with Gwen. Like usual, because Seven Deadly Sins were on mission, Gwen was entrusted to stay with the princesses. Veronica hid on the garden above the tree with Griamore and Howzer wasn’t there because he was in the town to witness the festival. Gilthunder helped Margaret to find Gwen and Elizabeth. Considering to what they heard from Veronica and Griamore, Elizabeth and Gwen planned to hide at an old castle on the outskirts of town.
“although today is the national foundation festival, those two really are... ah, found you?!”, Margaret pulled Gwen who hide under the table out of her hiding place “why should you two hide on this place? It’s dangerous to play here without adult’s supervision”.
Gwen smiled sheepishly after apologizing “but, big sis Margaret~ when I and Ellie wanted to search for hiding place, after Veronica and Griamore told us to not hide on the same place with them, Ellie was the one who suggest to hide in this place”.
Margaret shook her head “and? where is Elizabeth?”.
“ah, about it... we got separated on the halfway”, Gwen explained that on the garden as they searched the place to hide, they saw Dreyfus, Hendrickson and Zaratras discussing about an important meeting with Seven Deadly Sins on the old castle. Elizabeth wanted to see Meliodas and Gwen wanted to greet her family especially her mom and Meliodas, so they came here but in the hallway, they got separated because Gwen pursued the familiar shadow that she believed as Tristan although she didn’t find him in the end “so I also have no idea as to where Ellie was hiding right now. Sorry”.
“let’s find Ellie, then”, Margaret sighed before holding her hand, telling her to not get lost “Gilthunder is waiting outside, looking for you two as well”.
“big sis Margaret and big bro Gil surely close, huh? Are you two gonna married someday?”, Gwen giggled when Margaret was flustered, then she beamed up to Margaret who not let her hand go even for a split second and leading her way “I believe this is how it feels like, to have an older sister”.
“you’re surprisingly blunt, huh? Are you really 5 years old?”, Margaret sighed with slight flush on her cheek before she heard something from supposed-to-be empty room “ah, maybe it’s Lord Zaratras, Lord Dreyfus and Lord Hendrickson?”.
“it means mommy and the others are there too, right?”, Gwen lit up and said under the whisper before they slowly, silently peeked through the gap of the door.
It was a mistake.
They witnessed something they shouldn’t have to.
Margaret gasped and covered her mouth, same with Gwen as they witnessed Zaratras was skewered by Dreyfus and Hendrickson. Margaret did what she thought as the most rightful thing. She ran from that place, holding Gwen’s hand and dragging her as far as they could from that place. Suddenly, it felt hard to breath for Gwen, her head pounded crazily like her heartbeat. Her knees buckled beneath her and her grip from Margaret’s hand .
Last thing she saw was Margaret, horrified, reached out her hand to her and the last thing she heard was Margaret’s voice calling her name before everything turned black “GWEN?!”.
When Gwen opened her eyes, she saw Merlin and Tristan hovering above her and looking down to her with worried expression “...mom?”.
Merlin smiled and sighed in relief “yes, it’s me. Thanks god, you’re finally awake”.
“MOM?!”, Gwen wrapped her arms around Merlin’s shoulders and cried in relief before realizing that they were no longer in their home “where are we?”.
“on our home, at Istar”, Zaneri came to her side, touching her temple “seems like your fever has broken, finally”.
Jenna pushed Gwen to sleep, pointing to Merlin and Tristan “we surprised that these two came here with you who rather beaten black and blue. What happened?”.
Gwen tried to remember but she didn’t remember what happened. What she knew at least, she was with someone and they just witnessed something terrible. They needed to get out to somewhere safe and told everyone about what they saw, but who was there with her and what they just witnessed, no matter how she tried to remember it, Gwen couldn’t remember it to the point it annoyed her.
“maybe it’s because she knocked her head too hard?”, Tristan offered and only then Gwen realized that bandages wrapped around her head and forearms “I found you were barely buried under the debris, got knocked by fallen rock of the rubble from collapsed building. Just barely”.
Merlin caressed Gwen’s head, telling her to rest “you have my greatest thanks, Tristan”.
“anytime, sis”, Tristan shrugged “now, what will you two do?”.
“...I guess we have no other choice”, Merlin touched her chin thoughtfully, she needed to go to Camelot Kingdom “say, Tristan, can you help me? I need you to be my guide. Jenna, Zaneri, I need to go for a while to Camelot Kingdom. Can you two take care of my daughter until I find the proper place and make sure that place is safe enough for us?”.
Tristan scratched his head “I can be your guide, but if you can’t find place to stay, you and your daughter can just come with me—”.
“no, it’s something I myself should take care of”, Merlin only thought of how to keep her daughter safe all this time “looks like it’s about time, I know this will happen eventually but I don’t expect it to happen this fast. It’s time for her to fulfill her fate”.
Jenna exchanged glances with her sister before turning back to Merlin “no problem for us, but for how long?”.
“...I’m not sure, but I will come back to pick her as soon as possible”.
Gwen had a bad feeling about this and asked Merlin once she realized that Merlin would go for a while again, without they knew for how long and when would Merlin come back to her “I want to come with you?!”.
Merlin shook her head “no, you can’t. You have to stay here for a while with the druids because it’s safer for you”.
With that, Merlin went with Tristan to Camelot Kingdom. Two months passed and Merlin came back to pick her like her promise to her, but when Merlin told Gwen to not call her ‘mother’ again, Gwen cried “why? Because I’m not your real daughter? Because we’re not related by blood?”.
“Gwen, listen to me. Your real family is still alive. Your family, related by blood. We need to gather them back so we can be one unity family. Don’t worry, I will not leave your side but in our new place, you can’t call me ‘mother’ as I’m not your birth mother. Now, don’t cry. A woman shouldn’t shed her tears easily”.
Rubbing her eyes, Gwen sobbed but tried to stop her tears “then... should I call you ‘Godmother’ from now on? Related by blood or not, I don’t care about it at all... for me, you are my one and only mother...”.
“...forgive me, Gwen, but it’s needed if you still want to live together with me on our new place”, Merlin closed her eyes and leaned her forehead into hers before wiping her tears and cupping her cheeks “from now on, you should live with your real identity. From now on, your name is Guinevere Cameliard, the lost princess of Cameliard Kingdom. We will live on the Castle of Camelot Kingdom, with me as Great Sorceress and Advisor of Camelot Kingdom and you, as the lost princess from Cameliard Kingdom that welcomed by King Uther Pendragon”.
At the age of 6 years old, Gwen changed her name back to Guinevere Cameliard and entered the Castle as a potential fiancée for the successor of King Uther Pendragon.