Disclaimer: Legend of Mana does not belong to me… if it did, then I wouldn't be doing this damned disclaimer… Wish it did though… :]

author's notes: I made this fanfic a long time ago.. 3 years back, more or less. Couldn't get myself to post it until now, that is…

Sorry for the corny title… couldn't think of anything else… :(

The female character's name is Alaeza (bear with me… ;] ). It isn't exactly romance.. not exactly a Pearl/Elazul fic either… You be the judge. Read it, then tell me what you think… (",)

Large masses of dark gray clouds blanketed the sky, completely blocking out whatever feeble streams of light the stars could have offered. It would seem that the whole world was plunged into infinite darkness if it weren't for the occasional bursts of light accompanied by a loud booming sound that echoed throughout the land. Lightning danced among the clouds, creating a brief but spectacular web of electricity. The wind voiced out the misery of the people below as it seemingly howls out in agony…

There has been too much destruction… too much suffering…

The heavens lament as the rain begins to pour heavily throughout the land.

The night couldn't be any darker. Nor could it have been any gloomier.

Alaeza gazed at the raging storm outside the cave. She inhaled deeply and released a heavy sigh. She tilted her head up to look above.

"…twinkle, twinkle little star… how I wonder WHERE you are…"

Her delicate face formed a frown as she stared out into the inky black depths of the heavens.

"sheeesh…nature must be holding some grudge against Fa'Diel…" she mumbled to herself then continued to stare out into the forest below her.

"…as if the demons weren't punishment enough…"

She sighed heavily then threw her hands up in exasperation.

"A break. One measly break. A peaceful, not to mention STARRY night! That's all I'm asking for…" she grumbled some more then returned to observing the surroundings.

Fighting monsters day to day is very tiring indeed. This one made no difference and was just as exhausting as the rest.

Finally, she took her eyes off of the rough weather outside and turned her attention to the bright orange fire before her. She was mesmerized by the dancing flames which cast eerie shadows upon the cave walls.

A sudden movement caught her attention. Looking past the campfire, she locked her gaze on the sleeping form of her companion. Her thoughts wandered and rested upon the Jumi Knight who slept across from where she sat.

Dim and shadowy as the cave interior was, she was still able to distinguish his handsome features.

'the strong but silent type…'

A small and amused smile crept onto her face. Yet, there was something about him that bothered her…

Even as the shadows played around him, she could still see his face, contorted with fear and anxiety.

What was troubling him? … nightmares?

She sighed and threw her head back.

'Every single night… he's always like this… what the heck is plaguing him?! For all I know, he might just suddenly die in his sleep…'

Alaeza closed her eyes.

'Something is bothering him and he doesn't even tell me! The idiot…'

She opened her eyes and glared at him. But she immediately softened when she saw his condition. His appearance remained the same, if not worse. Beads of sweat trickled down his face… his brows furrowed and eyes shut tight. His head turned from side to side, mouthing incoherent words as he writhed on the floor.

He was struggling. And all she could do was watch.

'Damnit, Alaeza! Pitying him will get you nowhere!'

But pity wasn't the only thing she felt for him. As she watched him twisting about, she had the sudden urge to kneel beside him and cradle him in her arms… but she knew he wouldn't appreciate the gesture – hell! He would probably even hate her!

…No… She couldn't risk losing the little trust and respect he had come to show her throughout all their journeys.

Even for just one moment, she wished that he would acknowledge her and tell her that she had some importance to him…

Wow. Wouldn't that be great? A lowly sprite like her, precious to a proud jumi like him…

A sudden sparkle form his direction distracted her from her train of thoughts.

' his core…'

Of course. How could she forget? They are very different from each other – different race, different personalities. In a way, they were already worlds apart in the very beginning…

But that never stopped her from hoping.

His dark blue core shone briefly once more as it reflected light from the campfire.

Sparkling.

She saw his core shine identical to that, more than twice before. A jumi core would sparkle when one of its kind was nearby…

And when Elazul's core did, he would always hope that it was Pearl…

Pearl. She envied that girl. She really did.

There were times when she fantasized that she was the damsel in distress. Elazul, her knight in shining armor, would come to her rescue, sweep her from her feet and together, they would ride off into the sunset…

Alaeza sighed heavily.

She wished that she could be helpless, wander around like Pearl and consequently, get herself lost foolishly.

Elazul would surely search for her… he would never abandon her…

-but she wasn't the troubled maiden. She was the almighty warrior –

She frowned.

Pearl and Elazul – the guardian and the knight. They complimented each other very well. Perhaps even made for each other…

" The Jumi. Only for the Jumi." She whispered, her face cast downwards.

"…Pearl…"

She suddenly looked up.

"…Pearl…!" He mumbled. Barely audible, but she heard it.

Elazul twisted and turned on the floor. His hands, reaching out into thin air.

' I really should wake him…'

Scratch that thought. Knowing Elazul, he might think he was being attacked. Kill first, ask questions later. That kind of reaction wasn't a pleasant thought…

An idea struck her.

'Music heals the aching soul…'

She hurriedly brought out her flute and silently prayed that she was doing the right thing…

Alaeza began to play a soft and mellow tune… One that Wisp would certainly enjoy. The melody floated all throughout. The relaxing tune flowed from her flute and amazingly, it seemed to soothe even the violent wind…

Elazul responded to the music and began to ease up… after a while, peace finally reigned in his sleep.

The turmoil ceased.

She smiled. 'Music soothes the savage beast,eh?'

When everything seemed to be all right, Elazul managed to whisper on last word…

"…Pearl…?"

It was a question. Uncertainty that needed confirmation. If this was what it took…

"…I'm here, Elazul… I'm here…" she choked.

He seemed contented. He turned to his side, his back facing her, and slept in peace.

She, however, continued to stare at him. Her eyes, glazed.

A solitary tear rolled down her cheek.

"…and I'll always be here…"

She rose to leave. She went towards the opening and stood there. Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply… but it was of no use. The tears continued to well up and she could do nothing else but fall to her knees and cry.

At the far end of the cave, the Lapis lazuli knight was still asleep. Nightmares no loner haunted him. He was at peace.

"…Alaeza…"

Thunder struck. A blinding bolt of lightning raced across the sky, followed by a deafening boom. The loud cracking sound of a solid object could be heard as a massive tree was struck. It split apart and fell to the ground with an echoing thud. It was on fire for a few seconds, but the endless rain extinguished it.

The noise awoke Elazul. He slowly opened his eyes and blinked several times. His blue orbs automatically adjusted to the dark surroundings. The lit campfire has long been put out by strong gusts of wind. He stood up slowly then searched around for his companion.

Another flash of lightning splayed across the heavens, temporarily illuminating the dim cave. He spotted her by the cave's opening. Slowly, he approached the figure, silently as possible as not to wake her up in case she was asleep.

At the sound of the faint footsteps approaching, Alaeza jerked her head towards the source…

Before her, she saw Elazul standing dramatically – tall and proud with his cape flapping behind him. Normally, she would comment this to him just for the sake of teasing him… but she really wasn't in the mood to kid around right now.

Elazul leaned back onto the wall with his arms folded across his chest. He stared out into the open.

"You're still awake."

"That a crime?" she snapped back at him

"…"

"…"

Silence was their conversation.

Alaeza shifted her position. She propped one leg and rested her arm on it while she let the other dangle on the edge.

Both were focused on another tree that suddenly burst into flames as lighting struck it.

"Bad dreams?" she finally spoke

He turned to look at her inquisitively but he didn't answer her question.

She too turned to look at him. Amber eyes clashed against cobalt blue. Each, as captivating as the other…

"Was it about Pearl…?" she questioned him once more.

Her eyes bore deep into his own… searching his soul… accusing him. No one moved. They simply stared at each other, both trying to read each other's thoughts.

'What the hell is wrong with her? Why is she being nosy all of a sudden?'

Correct that. She was always nosy. Curiosity always got the better of her. But this time, she's gone too far…

Elazul was the first to look away.

"…It's none of your business."

His typical answer laced with icicles, sprinkled with frost and left to freeze a hundred below zero degrees Celsius.

Cold and uncaring… but she was persistent.

"Soooo…" she smiled " … what did you dream about?"

She tried to act casual to get some answers to unspoken questions…

Friendy talk –

-but to no avail.

"It' . .business."

There was a tone of finality in his voice. It spelled out "poke some more and you're gonna get it".

His temper was flaring. He glared at her.

"Fine." It was her turn to look away.

Another tree caught fire but it was soon put out by the rain. And in that few seconds of light, it was then when he realized…

"You've been crying." He spoke. It was more of a statement, not a question.

Her eyes were a bit puffy and the white of her eyes was of a lighter shade of red.

Elazul's curiosity was definitely piqued. It wasn't everyday you'd see this cheerful sprite so emotionally distressed.

She looked at him and returned his previous glare.

"Like you said – It's none of your business."

There was a long pause.

Elazul shrugged.

"Fine. Have it your way."

He turned to head back towards the end of the cave. He took a few steps then stopped to look back.

"Get some sleep. You're obviously tired."

Alaeza sighed loudly and raised both of her hands in defeat.

"You're right. What I probably need is some rest…" she said then faked a yawn.

She leaned back and rested her head on the wall.

"Goodnight, Elazul."

She closed her eyes, knowing full well that he wouldn't reply.

"…goodnight, Alaeza…"

He turned and walked away. Unaware of the soft melody, playing in his head.

The End

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O_O

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=somnus=