A Few Simple Truths- A Legend of Dragoon Vignette

AN~Okay, look. About this. I know the summary didn't say a lot(there's no room TO say a lot, so it's kinda redundant), so I'll try to explain this now. You know that scene in the snow fields in Gloriano? It's like....right after you beat Lloyd and you go there. In the beginning, there's that big blizzard so you sit around and listen to Lloyd talk about Emperor Diaz and all those troubles(blech! Diaz!). A scene that could have happened, is basically what this is. Well, this was a story I thought up of after watching that scene and realizing that for once in their Dragoony-ish lives(sounds weird, I know), SOMEBODY needed to tell Meru like it is. Mweh heh heh. Oh, don't get me wrong, I love Meru. She's my favorite character, but I thought this story would be a little funny(but it has a meaning too, so don't run away yet!). ~Vereor Veritas~(and how fitting it is for this story), ~*~tigerofthewind~*~

"Daaaaaaaaaaart!!!!!!!!!!!!"Meru howled, flailing her limbs around in the air and yanking her large hammer off of her back, nearly beheading poor Haschel as she did so."It's not fair!!!!!!!!!!"

You could almost see the vein in Rose's temple throbbing."Perhaps you should let her have her way, simply so she'll be quiet,"she muttered to the red-armored Dragoon, causing the girl in question to run over to Rose, demanding to know what it was she just said.

The blizzard outside in the snow fields of Gloriano shrieked, but not nearly as loud as Meru. When she set her mind to something(or NOT to do something, as was the case now), she could be as persistent as a bunch of Mille Seseau knights defending royalty."Make somebody else do it! Like Haschel!"

The Rouge martial arts master looked up from where he had been engaged in conversation with Miranda."Hey, not me! I'm old, we old folks need our rest! Besides, I've been out fighting monsters all day!"

Too true, Dart usually tried to avoid fighting against monsters with Meru, simply because she made the loudest noises possible while doing it. He always thought that a giant hammer would make a nice soft thud against an enemy, but somehow the platinum-haired Wingly had managed to concoct a way for it to produce this weird snapping sound that both annoyed him and scared him all at once.

But she was not to be defeated so easily."Or Kongol, hunh?! He can barely fit in this room, let alone sleep comfortably!"

Be that as it may, Meru shrank back when the Giganto clambored to his feet and stooped over her menacingly, stooping not only because of the low altitude of the cave. A mere look shut her up in seconds, a talent Rose often wished she could acquire.

Thankfully, Meru knew better than to ostracize her. She gestured angrily at Miranda."She's been here before! I'm not used to this cold! If I don't have enough energy, I'll never make it across the snow fields!"

Lloyd(invariably the cause of their argument) barely managed to refrain from shouting 'We're not that lucky!!!' aloud. Instead, he covered his head with his hands and bowed his head between his knees, hoping to shut the unwanted noise out. He'd been bleeding all over from the various injuries Dart and Co. had given him, and slowly losing his composure(hell, losing his SANITY). It hadn't been a good day.

Even though Miranda hadn't objected, the petite little dancer moved on to her next target."And what about Mr. King-of-Serdio, hunh?! Does he think he's too good to take guard duty for a night, hunh?!"

Albert knew that ignoring her was the key, and thus was the reason why he got the better of her in so many of her instigation attempts. Instead, he gazed up at the ceiling and prevented any thoughts of Meru entering his brain by completely occupying it's expanse with thoughts of Emille, the princess of Tiberoa.

By now, Dart was wholly frustrated. More often than not, Meru was a generally good kid. She was loud and sometimes conceited, but they all were to a fashion. And while she wasn't that great of a fighter, she was still there to act a bridge between Humans and the Winglies. Besides, since she became a Dragoon, there wasn't a whole lot he could really do about kicking her out. Although he was THIS close.

"Meru, that's the end of the matter,"he said definitively, folding his arms across his chest."You know we all take turns on guard duty, and this is your night."

"She ALWAYS complains,"sighed Miranda, and rolled over in her sleeping mat. Haschel was already gone.

"But I need my BEAUTY SLEEP!!!!!!"Meru roared, glaring around at them as though they threatened her well-being. Everyone else ignored her, merely said their goodnights to each other and rolled over to face the wall, completely opposite of Meru.

You see, King Albert hadn't been called the greatest strategist in Serdio for nothing. Having nothing or no one to torment, Meru soon tired of the sport and sat down in front of the fire, glaring at the other six heroes of Tiberoa(well, of Endiness in truth, but their greatness hadn't spread that far yet).

"God!!!"she muttered aloud, still a little vexed about not getting her way."Who knows what could happen to me while the rest of them sleep and leave me here all alone and defenseless?!"To get her point across, she shifted her glare to Lloyd and threw a rock at him, where it bounced off his armor with a clang. The rock landed next to the red place where the snow had been stained by his blood.

It didn't hurt him at all, but caused him to look up at her."Can I help you?"

"Yeah, turn back time to yesterday and let Dart kill you so I don't have to stay awake on stupid guard duty, okay?"

He could honestly say he didn't quite follow what her problem was."It shouldn't be too hard. You slept through most of the meeting we had yesterday, when we plotted the course through the snow fields."He didn't add how loudly she had snored, for her benefit.

She looked ready to protest, then thought better of it."Fine, fine. But you know, a girl like me's gotta keep up on her beauty rest! What happens if I get all wrinkly and ugly?"

Once again, a pointless statement. Lloyd couldn't quite understand how these stupid people had managed to get the better of him. Well, if he hadn't so overestimated the power of the Divine Dragon spirit and let that accursed soft spot for the Third Sacred Sister Wink show through, then maybe things would have been different.

Or conversely, he might have been dead anyway. It was all up to the great will of Soa. Although he was begining to doubt that Soa could be so cruel as to land him with this squabbling, impertinent excuse for a living creature."It wouldn't matter. You could sleep for a hundred years and it wouldn't make a difference."

Meru's face flared nearly as red as her eyes."Hey! Watch it, buster!"

Lloyd shrugged."Your problem is, you think too much on things that don't matter, and not enough on what's really important."

Feeling too tired to think of a retort, she tried to piece it together. She stared down at her hands and the answer came to her."Oh! I get it! Of course you wouldn't insult a pretty girl like me! You meant because I am a Wingly, right? Right, that it takes a long time for me to age!"

"Think of it what you will."(But at least it shut her up.)

There was blessed, blessed silence for a while. Then Meru began complaining again."Brr! It's too cold up here! I wish I was back in Donau now!"A pause."But then, I wouldn't have met Dart and the others. And they're cool. So I guess it's okay."

His eyes slid over her sparse dancer's outfit."Another simple truth: perhaps you would not be so cold if you took the time to put some actual clothes on."

She got to her feet in a huff."You are so mean! I'm going outside!"And she stalked off in a huff, a one-woman march that was almost as good as Miranda's.

Well, it couldn't have been better timing. Now, if he could get the Divine Moon Objects away from the loathsome Dart, then he could travel to Vellweb himself and receive the praise of Emperor Diaz...... Yes, his utopia was almost in sight.

He moved about an inch closer to where the blond-haired leader of the Dragoons lay when the Divine Dragoon armor gave a horrible creak. Damn thing. It looked like he'd have to do this in stealth.

It was slow going, taking off all that armor. But for some reason, the stupid Divine Dragon spirit wasn't resonating, and he couldn't just magically remove it like that. It had all seemed so easy when he'd put it on, but eventually, it lay in a large heap near the entrance of the cave. It had been slow and painful going, because of his injuries. But he'd be damned if he'd let those morons know just HOW much they had gotten the better of him.

Now for the Divine Moon Objects. He crept along now in silence, black leather he always wore giving him good cover in the dark. He hoped that Meru was as stupid as he had originally thought and had fallen off a cliff somewhere, never to return and interrupt his moment to make up for his previous mistakes.

Oops. He'd forgotten that Meru was a Wingly and obviously couldn't fall off a cliff because she could just fly to safety. He'd had his hand reached over Dart towards the pouch where the Objects were kept when---

"Gak! Woah, don't let me interrupt!"Meru took in the suggestive situation around her. She knew that Dart was cute and all, but THIS?! It boggled the mind.

Lloyd soon discovered what she was thinking by the simple process of reading the mind, a trick he had done to Queen Theresa back in Deningrad. It was enough to make him positively fly back to the corner of the cave he had once inhabited and completely forget about the Divine Moon Objects.

Well, he knew how it had to look. The armor that he had been so meticulous about piled near the wall, and he with his hand over the blond's belt, where unfortunately, the Moon Objects were in his posession. Still, it could have been worse. She could have guessed his original intention. Thank Soa the girl was not too bright.

She stood gaping in traditional Meru fashion for a while, until she finally seemed to recover somewhat and take a seat near the entrance of the cave, where The Moon That Never Sets gave off a tiny patch of light. The fire had long since gone out. Lloyd hoped she wouldn't say anything, but of course, she did.

"Um, listen, it's okay if you are like that and all, but you shouldn't.........you know, creep up on people like that while they sleep."

He truly hoped she would shut up. But no. Of course she would have to go on. It seemed to be Soa's punishment for his failing to deliver the utopia of the gods. She was still talking."You know, I learned a lot about love from traveling with Dart and friends. I would say you should tell him how you feel, but it won't do any good. He and Shana are big-time in love! And I don't like you much, anyway. So leave Dart alone."

Lloyd banged his head against the wall as quietly as he could, glad no one could see. Usually he could keep his composure, but sometimes, you just had to escape the biggest irritation in the world by knocking yourself unconcious.

"But you know,"Meru was saying,"you can't be that bad. You helped out Wink, and she seems to believe in you.........."

And so on and so on. If anything, he really wanted her to shut up about Wink."Of course I'm not 'bad'. I simply continue on my journey to create the utopia that Emperor Diaz and I desire."

"Blah, blah, blah!"As always, she wasn't interested in things that didn't concern romance or herself."It's too cold sitting still! I'm going for a walk!"Almost as an afterthought, she turned to him."You wanna come with?"A pause."No, wait! I can't leave you here with everybody!"She kicked his leg."Get up! We're going for a walk!"

She just HAD to kick the leg that had been giving him problems all day, didn't she? But not knowing any other alternative, he obliged.

Outside, The Moon That Never Sets reminded him of his objective. The Moon Child that would bring peace and equality to the species of the world............. Well, it would happen whether he or Dart brought the Divine Moon Objects to Diaz, so he supposed he could wait---

POOF! Something cold and wet smacked into his face, spreading white across his vision. A snowball. The sporadic little bimbo had thrown a snowball at him. He thought to get revenge, so he hurled one back.

Unfortunately, he hurled it with the force of a small rocket. Being a Dragoon now himself, he hadn't thought about a thing like that. The relative ice pellet ricocheted off of Meru's shoulder and knocked her backwards off of the slope.

Knowing she was too stupid to think to fly, and finding no logical way to explain to Dart and company that he had inadvertantly killed one of their number and manage to escape alive, he jumped after her.

It was a slide. Slipping down ice slope after ice slope, the platinum- haired swordsman felt himself gaining momentum, momentum, momentum............

BAM! Meru smacked into what appeared to be a minature stone wall at the bottom of the hill. Not wanting to meet the same painful-looking fate, Lloyd simply used his wings to hover to a perfect stop.

"Ow.........."Meru groaned, then jumped to her feet at an amazing speed."Look what it is you did, you doofus! What would have happened if my beautiful face had been scarred?! Not to mention how much that hurt!"She brandished her hammer."I really outta make you pay!"

He ignored her, still floating above the ground, and observed the stone tablet she had slammed into. Having the attention span of a gnat, Meru followed him."Ooh?! I can't read it!"She poked him in the side hard, right atop another injury he'd received during the previous battle."Hey, tell me what it says!!!"

Lloyd closed his eyes and counted to ten, slowly. Finally, he spoke."'The accursed city where the degeneration of the Winglies began. May no one enter the door. Judge Nomos, the Court of Zenebatos'."

"Heeeeeey! Did you know that Zenebatos was once the most prosperous Wingly city a long time ago?!"Meru was chattering away happily, then she caught sight of the light wings on his back and stopped."Oh. Sometimes I forget you are a Wingly, too."

"Likewise."He decided to take pity on her and forgive her stupidity. Besides, she might even grow a little more intellegent from his influence."The city they speak of is Fort Magrad,"he told her."It was the place where Emperor Diaz gave the declaration of war. With an army of Humans and seven Dragoons, Emperor Diaz led them into war."

"Oh. Hunh."She seemed to be thinking about something, then finally said it."In that story you told us about Emperor Diaz.......you went to...........Kadessa, didn't you?"

He was impressed she could remember that much."Yes."

"Well, we Winglies were not so great, were we?"

"Which is why I strive for my utopia."Maybe NOW someone would get it.

Silence for about a minute, the only noise being the humming of Lloyd's wings. It had to have been a record for the longest time Meru had ever been quiet. He thought to enlighten her a little more."We could go into the fort, if you wish. I have never seen it myself, either."

She smiled, but it was a sad smile."No, if Dart and the others wake up, they will be worried. We should go back. I am not even sure how far we have fallen, are you?"

He wanted to comment on how SHE had fallen, not him, but merely shook his head."Will you need help back up?"

".......No."She employed the use of her wings and ascended next to him."You forget that even the weakest Winglies can fly. Now hurry up before I freeze my adorable butt off!"

She seemed to be back to normal already. Lloyd wasn't sure if it was a blessing or a curse.

When they got back to the cave, it looked as though nothing had changed. Haschel had slid a little closer next to Miranda, but according to Meru, that always happened."Ulk! I'm EXHAUSTED!"she groaned, rolling her eyes and stretching out her long legs."And you, you're lucky that I haven't told anyone you're bleeding, because then Miranda would have to treat you, and she'd make it as painful as possible."

Well, he'd been hoping to hide it as an obvious weakness, but the newest news about Miranda gave him added purpose. He sat down wearily as she spun around hyperactively in several new dance moves, once more adding evidence to the claim that she never ran out of energy."Heeeeey!"she whispered, somehow even managing to make that sound loud."You're lucky, you get to go to bed anytime you want. You should take advantage of that. We've got to get across stupid Gloriano to get to stupid Vellweb to give the stupid Moon Objects to stupid Diaz all for the purpose of your stupid plan. Go to sleep."

A pause, as he lay down and thought to follow the smartest thing she'd said all day. Then---"Well, maybe your plan's not so stupid."

(Then the sooner we get to Vellweb, the better), he thought, just before dropping off to sleep.


Lloyd awoke a little before dawn to a different feeling to his arms and legs. It wasn't necessarily BAD, just not the same as it was before. He sat up abruptly, kicking Rose in the head(thankfully, she didn't wake up).

Bandages. All up and down his arms and legs, and across his chest. Somebody'd patched him up during the night, and three guesses as to who it was.

Yeah, and the first two don't count. Looking around, his suspicions were confirmed as he saw Meru easing Miranda's first-aid kit back into place. Well, he supposed it was better than Miranda doing it, or attempting to do it himself(first-aid had never been his thing, because he rarely ever got hurt). He asked the same question of Meru as he had of Dart.

"Is it out of pity?"

She nodded."Yup."A pause."And, 'cuz you are a Wingly like me. At least you fought for something I could believe in, not like the Bardel brothers."A longer pause."I heard you killed the younger one."

(Because he tried to kill Wink.)"Yes."

"Well, I feel sorry for him, too. But you know, Humans are pretty cool. Look at Dart and everyone! Everyone has their own little quirks that irritate me, but that is what being friends is all about! I think Winglies and Humans should be able to live side by side, don't you?"

A single nod of assent."All species."

"Oh, right. Well, one day, I'll have to take you back to my home, the Forest of the Winglies. No one believes me when I tell them things like that."

Lloyd eased his shirt and armor back on."Well, there's a reason for that, I suppose."

Meru's face grew indignant."Hey! After I said all that nice stuff to you?! Humph, I guess you are rude by nature."

"Well, I will tell you this, Meru of the Winglies. Never give up on your ideals."

And he didn't say anything else after that. He had too much to think about. And that was fine, because so did she. The fact of the matter was, while neither could tolerate the other for an extended period of time, they had taught each other a few simple truths.

Outside in the snow fields of Gloriano, the sun rose.