Bors and Launcelot and Lavaine and Elaine end up staying at Sir Baudwin’s for several months. At first they’re waiting around so that the knights can go directly from the hermitage to King Arthur’s next scheduled jousting tournament, a Halloween Spook-tacular. Bors keeps pressuring Launcelot to go ahead and marry Elaine, make an honest knight of him, but Launcelot just isn’t into it at all.
Shortly before the tournament, though, Launcelot suffers a relapse. He’s out in the woods with Bors and Lavaine, knighting it up, when he suffers a minor horsemanship accident and tears every one of his stitches. Elaine comes running at the noise, and rebuke[s] her brother and Sir Bors, and call[s] them false traitors, why they should take him out of his bed. “If he dies, I’m blaming you two!”
But he doesn’t die. Baudwin and Elaine get him back to bed. Baudwin puts a thing in his nose and gives him a little water, which wakes Launcelot up enough for Baudwin to patch him up. Launcelot asks if he’ll be able to participate in the tournament, and Baudwin pronounces him disqualified for injury.
So Bors goes to the tournament without Launcelot, and wins every prize, except for the ones that Sir Palomides and Sir Gareth win (they’re on an unrelated strange adventure together that Malory doesn’t have time to tell us about, thank God). Afterwards he tells Launcelot all about it, and Launcelot grumbles about having missed it.
Eventually Launcelot is ready to leave Baudwin’s hermitage. Elaine does some quick math, and realizes that with his injuries healed, Launcelot won’t have a reason to keep her around.
“Sir Launcelot! Beloved! I know you’re leaving,” she says when she finds him. “Please, take me with you!”
“No, thank you.”
“Please, marry me! I know it’s olden times and the man is supposed to ask the girl’s father, but I don’t care!”
“No, thank you.”
“Then please, let’s just fool around one more time, and then I can be your girl on the side! I’ll do what Guene-don’t!”
“Jesu defend me!” cries Launcelot. “How many times can I say no?”
“Then I guess I’ll just die of grief!” cries Elaine. Then she shriek[s] shrilly, and [falls] down in a swoon.
While some ladies-in-waiting carry Elaine off to bed, Launcelot consults Bernard and Lavaine. “I really don’t want to marry her.”
Lavaine and Bernard would both be a lot happier if he did, but Launcelot is implacable.
So Launcelot goes back to Camelot. He takes Lavaine with him, as his sidekick, and everyone in Camelot is happy to see him except for Agravaine and Mordred and Guenever. Guenever arranges to always be in a different room whenever Launcelot’s around, and gets up and leaves when he comes in and sits down. It’s childish, really.
Meanwhile Elaine goes on a hunger strike and eventually dies. She writes a letter about how she was dying for the love of Launcelot, and when she dies her father loads her into a boat with the letter and sends it downriver towards Camelot.