A night spent camping in the Evergreen Forest and Meru can't sleep. Trouble ensues.
'Rose is so weird.' Meru mused while cocooned in her blankets, thoroughly awake despite the late hour. She sat up with difficulty, looking around the forest clearing-made-camping-site and could just pick out the darkened form of the woman at the far edge of the area. The teen preferred to keep her thoughts focused on the Dark Dragoon as of late to distract her from the less welcome thoughts that had kept her from sleeping since their arrival in Mille Seseau. 'Should I go back?' She shook herself violently to chase away that notion - she did NOT want to think about them right now - and quickly set her sights on the current watchman.
It was Haschel's turn and by all appearances he was either asleep or meditating, his back to a tree, and dead to the world. Her trademark Cheshire grin made an appearance as she disentangled herself from her sheets and made her way over to him, sidestepping Dart and Shana along the way. She bent over, hands on hips, and stared at the martial artist's face - her grin ever-widening.
His mustache twitched as he snored.
'Lucky!' She glanced around the clearing again and quietly beelined for the sleeping Rose. She approached silently, crouching low and creeping towards her side. She held back a snicker as she leaned over the woman to look at her face. 'She even scowls in her sleep!' she mentally crowed, finding this a delightful diversion. The teen pulled back and looked about in the starlit gloom, seizing on what she had been searching for: the shadowy shape of Rose's scabbard. Her impish smile turned downright devilish as she stretched her arm out to snatch her trophy when she heard something odd. Quizzically Meru peered into the woman's face once more as her hand closed around the rapier.
A single tear coursed down an ivory cheek.
'That sound I heard - Is-is she crying ?' Another indrawn breath and a rasping sob confirmed it. The girl paused, her smile dissolving, but shrugged it off and hefted the blade at her side. The weapon clinked gently within its casing.
Her breath tore from her chest as a knee was planted in her gut, her head cracking smartly against the ground. Backlit above her was a snarling demon; wings extended and sharp claws digging into her flesh, eyes alight with bloodlust. Meru blinked away the spots in her eyes and saw the form above her resolve into Rose; her hair settling from the motion of her tackle, sword in hand and pressing into the teenager's neck and nails digging into her arm. Her eyes, though, held the same burning intensity of the demon's, her snarl just as fierce. Looking up into that deadly gaze the girl began to quake.
There were muttered curses from the others and the tromping of grass - she belatedly realized she had cried out when she'd been attacked and had apparently woken everyone. Haschel was the first to arrive, prying Rose's hand off Meru's arm and roughly pushing the sword away. The Dark Dragoon blinked - the first reprieve the shaking teen had had from that paralyzing stare - then seemed to realize the situation herself and backed off, sheathing her sword and standing with her back to the others. Groggily, Dart surveyed the scene and helped the dancer to stand - she found her wobbling legs would not take her weight and so leaned on him heavily, gulping air back into her abused lungs. She spotted a piece of her hair lying in the grass, cut cleanly through by the woman's blade.
'That was too close!' The thought raced through her mind as she fought to keep herself from hyperventilating. 'Too close!'
Dart handed her over to a startled Shana and moved off to talk with Rose. The Light Dragoon cooed soft words in an effort to soothe the shaken girl, but Meru was deaf to her efforts. In front of her staring red eyes the image of that winged demon ready to tear into her flesh remained.
'I'm not gonna be able to sleep for a week.' She shuddered and tried to think of anything but that vision of hell itself, only slightly succeeding as shock set in. "Rose is sooooo much scarier than a Virage." She commented between lungfuls of air. Shana appeared shocked by that statement but her humor began to return, her eyes still showing her concern for the younger Dragoon.
"Why do you provoke her, then?" she asked gently, not wanting the subject of their conversation to overhear. Meru however was not so inclined towards caution.
"Y'know, I bet she's even scarier than the Black Monster !"
"Meru!" Shana admonished, steering them away from the growing cluster of bodies surrounding Rose - whose expression had grown downright thunderous.
The next day while trekking through the Evergreen Forest the traveling companions took turns drilling Meru on just what she had been up to the night before with little success. The girl had drawn inward throughout the morning, becoming as silent as a certain other member of their band. It was almost a relief when they approached the edge of the forest and Rose left the group, the tension bleeding away with every footstep. Making up her mind, Meru declared her own need to visit her parents - a much more pleasant thought, she'd found, than the mysterious Dark Dragoon.