At the Professor's urging, Lloyd had been reluctantly reading a book on the history of royalty in Meltokio – everything from hierarchy to table settings at dinner and other meals of the day. To the idealistic swordsman, every aspect of the lesson was stiff, monotonous, and, worst of all, boring. Begrudgingly did the youth drag the textbook from his bag every night when the party stopped to rest at an inn and read as much as he could before he was simply put to sleep. The words would soon begin to blur and mingle as he read, and his mind would wander away from the subject, graciously, until it was time to go to sleep. At times, if Raine gave him a hard time, he simply studied the pictures hard so that he looked as though he was doing his reading. It seemed as though the book would never be through… until one chapter in particular caught his attention.
As he lay propped up in bed, Genis asleep at his left, and Zelos at his right, Regal across the room, Lloyd held the thick textbook upright on his chest, squinting at the black print by candlelight. Flipping yet another mind-grating page, the bold headline of a new chapter caught his eye: Marriage. "What does marriage have to do with royalty?" the youth whispered to himself, shifting the book closer to his face so he could see the words better. By the first paragraph, he was hooked. Every last word seemed utterly fascinating – not just an explanation on what exactly marriage had to do with Meltokian royalty, but a fairly detailed description of how exactly marriages worked, what was usually said and done during them, traditions, and the like. Once the boy had finished the chapter, he found himself turning back and rereading it.
It wasn't until the sun had begun to rise and sprinkle light through the window that Lloyd finally set down his book, having read the chapter on marriage at least seven times, and went to bed. The various key words stuck in his head: matrimony, promise, vow, bond, duty, and so on. All sorts of images passed through his mind as he mulled these words over, picturing a marriage between a generic bride and groom, and imagining what sorts of things they would say to each other – what their vows would be. The entire concept seemed a big deal at first glance, when in reality it was a 'do-and-be-done-with' affair (at least, that's how the book made it seem, to keep to the medieval royalty theme). And it struck Lloyd suddenly that he had seen something just of this sort so many times already, without even realizing it!
Oh, how could he ever sleep after coming to that sudden realization! Pulling the covers off him, he sprang from his bed, as soundlessly as he could in his hurry, and slipped out of the room and into the lobby. By this time it was daylight out, and many of the others had risen and were enjoying a light breakfast and conversation. As Lloyd scampered up to the table of his fully-dressed friends, he himself clad only in his pajamas still, he caused many brows to raise. Finally, he caught sight of just the ally he had been searching for – Sheena. She sat beside Genis and Colette, idly eating porridge from a wooden bowl, head in her hand. Genis' enthusiastic talk of some sort of math lesson he'd had before seemed to be boring her, but at Lloyd's rampant approach she sat upright in alarm. "Lloyd? What's the problem?"
"Sheena!" Lloyd burst out, slumping against the table, breathless. He seemed so frenzied, so perturbed; everyone at the breakfast table began to wonder if there had been an emergency. "I was reading my history book, and…"
"You were actually reading, Lloyd?" Genis interrupted in disbelief, following up with an amused and somewhat sarcastic laugh. "There must be something wrong."
"Wow, Lloyd!" Colette chimed in cheerfully, clapping her hands together, "I'm so glad you're doing your homework too!"
"Maybe he's sick?" suggested Zelos, who lurked on the other side of the table, empty porridge bowl balanced on his knee.
"Shut up for a minute!" Lloyd shouted over his friends, clearly exasperated that he couldn't share his revelation immediately with the bewildered and slightly alarmed Sheena sitting before him. Once there was silence, the youth continued, "Anyway, I was reading my history book, and I got to the part about marriages… And I was kinda thinking, isn't making a pact with the Summon Spirits a lot like marrying them? It is, isn't it? Because, y'know…"
"Lloyd, wait." Sheena raised a hand, clearly baffled, as was everyone else. It was difficult to follow the excited boy when he was talking so fast on so little sleep. "What are you talking about? Slowly, this time."
Lloyd heaved a great and agitated sigh, straightened himself some, and began again, as calmly as he knew how, "I was reading about marriage, okay? And I thought that it sounded kind of like making a pact with Summon Spirits. Because you have to make a vow and a promise, and all that, and you have to trust each other, and…" He slowed, realizing that everyone sitting around him was utterly dumbfounded, "…fulfill your duty… and… a… bond…?" Finally he stopped. Nobody looked like they were getting it, and on top of that, the boy had confused himself.
If there had been silence before, it was even quieter now. Everyone seemed frozen in place, just staring at Lloyd, then at Sheena, whose eyes had widened, a frown of bafflement on her face. This moment lasted a short time, shattered only by Genis' sudden bout of laughter. "Pacts? Like a marriage?! Ahaha, Lloyd, that's the funniest thing…" Zelos soon joined in the laugh, followed by Colette (although she only giggled some because everyone else seemed to be doing so). Sheena remained blank. When the amusement died down, she cleared her throat, and spoke.
"It's not exactly the same thing as a marriage, Lloyd… I mean…" the summoner trailed off to carefully pick and choose her words. "Marriages are for status, or money, or love… and pacts with Summon Spirits are… well, not like that."
Lloyd's spirits sank, showing visibly on his face. "…Oh… and I was so sure I'd figured it out, too…" This merely brought forth more laughter from the other three, though the giddiness lasted for less a time.
Sheena, fearing for the swordsman's pride, quickly righted herself: "Well, I mean…! I guess it's like a marriage… but for a different reason than normal. We do have to make a vow, and keep promises, and all that like you said…"
The idealistic youth perked back up again, excitement returning to his face. "Yeah! And there's that whole… ah, what was the word…" After a moment of recalling, it came to him, "Oh yeah! Unification! There's that, too, right Sheena?"
"Umm… yeah, I guess there is…" The summoner had to laugh a little, but not in a mocking sense at Lloyd as the others had. "I never really thought of it that way before."
Lloyd gave a nod, falling into supposed deep thought. The people at the table all exchanged rather worried glances, wondering just what kind of oddball thing the boy was going to come up with when he finally snapped out of it, but came to be relieved at the swordsman's scrunched-up nose and slightly disgusted tone of voice as he said, "Still… it's got to be pretty weird to marry a Summon Spirit. I mean, aren't they a bazillion years old? And they're not… really people, so…"
"I guess…" Sheena replied uneasily, looking to her other friends for help, only to be grinned at, as if they were all saying, it's your problem, deal with it.
"You wouldn't really marry a Summon Spirit, would you?" Lloyd questioned, tilting his head to one side, which made his bed-hair even more evident.
The summoner hesitated. "Well… no, I don't think so… um…"
"Right! You'd marry a real person, wouldn't you? I mean, because that's what you're supposed to do…"
"Uhh… well, yeah, I guess it is…"
Another brief moment of silence. Then, Lloyd dropped the finalizing question: "So, who would you marry?"
At this, the entire table erupted in laughter again, aside from Sheena, who turned bright red and looked down embarrassedly. Genis toppled from his chair in his fit of amusement, and the bowl fell from Zelos' knee with a loud clatter. Colette did her best to raise a ruckus while she laughed, simply to look as though she had gotten the joke (whatever it was). "What's so funny?!" Lloyd demanded, scowling around at his friends. This only brought forth another heavy wave of laughter. "I'm… serious!"
"Lloyd…" Sheena groaned, rubbing at her temples with two fingers. "Just forget about marriage, okay?"
"But… it's pretty interesting…" the youth protested.
"Maybe, but I don't think you're quite ready to learn about it. I'll see if I can get Raine to make you study something less… controversial."