I Wanted to be a Knight
By Queenie Z
A steady clicking noise slowly made him stir. At first, he tried to process the noise in his mind, but in his daze he was unable to. After a moment, he remembered he had eyes and managed to send a signal to open them.
What's that twirly thing? Oh, right, a ceiling fan. At least, he thought it was a ceiling fan; he wasn't quite certain at this point. He also saw a wooden roof or something similar.
Processing these visual stimuli, he then decided that he was indoors – a reasonable conclusion. But how did he get inside? And more importantly, which "inside" was this?
"Lloyd? Are you up?"
Lloyd… where had he heard that name – oh, yeah, it was his, wasn't it? Groggily, he turned his head over to where the voice came from.
"P…" P…something. That voice was definitely familiar. "Pro-hes-ses-er…" No, that wasn't it. He tried again. "…Profess…?"
The lady beside him frowned. "Hmm… you're slurring. That's not good." Then she grabbed something tall and skinny. "Yes, Lloyd, it's me, Professor Sage. Do you remember me?"
Oh, that's right. Memories of erasers and rulers and flying chalk came rushing back to him. He remembered that they hurt. "Mmmhmm…"
"Good. At least you don't have amnesia." She seemed rather relieved at this. Of course, he didn't understand that last word she said, but he wasn't going to get into that right now. She lifted the stick-thing and lightly placed it on his head. "First Aid."
What was that? He blinked. A spell, yeah, okay, and it made him less dizzy, which was definitely a good thing. And now he was pretty sure he could try talking again.
"…Professor?" he managed to say, "Where am I?"
"You're at the inn in Hima. Don't try to get up for a while."
Okay, now he was recognizing things again. This was good. He'd spent the night here with his friends many times before. Now if only he could figure out what happened…
His eyes widened. "Where's Colette?"
Raine sat the staff down beside her. "She's all right," she said. "Do you remember what happened?"
He thought long and hard, until finally, he said, "…She was gonna get hurt if I didn't do something…"
"We were fighting a velocidragon, Lloyd," she clarified, "and it was about to attack Colette. You jumped into the fray and took the blow instead."
Lloyd sighed with relief. She was okay after all.
Suddenly, Raine frowned. "Do you know what kind of danger you put yourself in, Lloyd Irving?"
Uh-oh, this wasn't good. He shut his eyes, waiting for the inevitable.
"Although you did it to save Colette, you managed to endanger yourself and nearly get killed. Did you not think of potential consequences of throwing yourself into that monster's way? Honestly, Lloyd, what were you –"
A small knock echoed through the room, interrupting the Professor's lecture. She sighed. "I think someone wants to see you." She then left her seat and opened the door. Lloyd tried to see who was at the door, but couldn't. After Raine exchanged some inaudible words with the visitor, she turned back to him, said, "Don't try to make any sudden movements," and left the room.
Lloyd was happy to see that the visitor was Colette. He knew she was okay already, but a confirmation certainly didn't hurt.
Slowly, she made her way over and sat down next to him. He could tell that her eyes were watering while she smiled down at him, wearing the same smile she always wore.
"Lloyd," she said, choking on the word, "are you okay?"
He smiled back. "I hope so."
A moment passed where her smile began to fade and tears began rolling down her cheeks. Suddenly, she burst into a fit of sobbing, holding her face in her hands.
Lloyd blinked. What was she crying about? "What are you…"
"I'm so sorry!" she cried, "Lloyd, I – if I hadn't been so clumsy – I'm so sorry – I… I…"
"Hey, hey, calm down, okay?" Slowly, he sat up in his bed. "There's nothing to be sorry about."
Wiping her face with her sleeve, she sobbed, "B-but it's because of m-me you got hurt…"
He shook his head. "You dork. It's not your fault." He looked down at himself. His was shirtless, his chest covered in gauze, as was the upper half of his left arm. "I guess I banged myself up pretty badly…"
Lloyd rolled his eyes and looked at her. "Look, it's not your fault. Besides, you would've gotten hurt if I didn't do anything."
Colette sniffled and said nothing, looking down at her lap.
"Besides," he said, grinning, "I've have worse. Remember when I broke my arm and my leg?"
She nodded. Then, suddenly, she smiled again. Then she started to… giggle?
"…What are you laughing at? It's not funny."
"Hee hee… I'm sorry, but – I remember you fell out of that tree trying to save that baby bird."
"What's that got anything to do with it?"
Colette looked up at him again, her eyes still red from crying. With a tiny sniffle, she answered, "Nothing, really… I just thought it was sweet of you."
He could feel himself getting embarrassed as he rubbed his bandaged arm. "It was nothing, really – I just… didn't want it to fall, I guess."
"But it was still really sweet!" replied Colette. "And I think that little bird was grateful for what you did… just like I am."
Lloyd could tell she was getting a little embarrassed herself. Her cheeks glowed a bright pink color. But why was she embarrassed?
"But it… wasn't that big of a deal… I – I didn't want to see you hurt."
Well… that was a bit of an understatement. He didn't want to see her hurt, that much was true – but more than anything, he wanted to be the one to save her. He wanted to feel the satisfaction of meaning something special to someone; to be depended on. He desperately wanted to do for her, most of all, what he couldn't do for the people of Iselia and Marble and all the people he wasn't able to save.
And why wouldn't he? A person like Colette only comes around once in a lifetime, kind of like a ray of light during a thunderstorm. In a world filled with hate and greed, sadness and loss, oppression and violence, she was that one sunbeam that would show the world the goodness that all men were capable of. She was so kind and cheerful, albeit a little klutzy and ditzy, and she was precious to those around her – especially Lloyd.
"But it really means a lot to me!" she insisted. "I just… I want to thank you. For saving me."
Lloyd found himself staring the other way. He saved her… the words rang through his mind like an echo. He could feel his face getting flushed and his heartbeat quickening. He felt special, appreciated – but how could to say that to Colette?
"W…what are those people called – you know, the ones who fight all the dragons and save the princesses in storybooks and stuff?"
She tilted her head. "Umm… you mean a knight?"
"Yeah, that – I guess…" he swallowed hard, "I guess that's what I've always wanted to be that – a knight – so that I could protect… you."
A moment of awkward silence followed. Then, he felt her hand touch his. He turned around to see her kneeling next to him.
"Lloyd…" she started, "I – you've always been one. At least… to me, you have."
So that was what it felt like to feel your heart skip a beat.
"I think you're brave – braver than anyone else I know – and without you… I don't feel as safe." Colette grabbed his hand and held it close to her. "Because I know you'll be the one to protect me."
The stupor Lloyd had been put into was probably even more disorientating than the one he got from his concussion. He could be her hero! He could keep her close to his side and be kept close to her heart in return. She had said he was her knight, and, by the Goddess, he was determined to continue to be one!
Squeezing her hand, he said with a smile, "Okay, then… from now on, I'll be the one to protect you."
Her eyes brightened in a delightful way. "Always? Forever and ever…?"
Lloyd nodded. "And ever."
Instantly, Colette threw her arms around him and whispered joyful "thank you"s into his side. Not that she had never hugged him before – but this time, it just seemed to feel more special, like something entirely new was blossoming. He played with a tiny strand of her long hair until she looked back up at him, beaming.
"So… uh… what do you want for dinner… Sir Irving?" she said with a giggle.
Dinner sounded good – but that name didn't. "Hey, don't call me that, okay? …At least, not in front of everyone."
Colette laughed playfully. "How does beef stew sound?"
"Great!" said Lloyd with a grin. "I'm starving!"