[01.17.00] » by Tifa9

         Cecilia knelt down next to the flower, cupping the pure white flower lightly in her hands.

         "Pretty flowers..." She looked over her shoulder at Rudy and Jack, "I didn't know that beauty like this still existed in Filgaia..." Rudy nodded, while Jack just looked bored.

         A voice sounded from behind the group, startling them, "Hey... Do you like the flowers?"

          The group turned. Standing in the shadows of the lone hut, stood a girl, who looked about 12 years old. She looked human enough, in her plain dress, and red cap. Except for the animal-like ears.

          Cecilia let go of the flower, standing up, to face the girl, "Are these your flowers? They're beautiful."

          The Girl blushed, bowing slightly.

          "I'm different from you." She said, then looked at the ground, "I'll get you in trouble if I talk to you..." She whispered.

          Jack ignored her last comment, "You're an Elw, aren't you?" he questioned. The girl nodded. "I met your kind before, in a ruin... Although, it was only a holographic projection..." he finished. The Elw girl gave him a puzzled look.

          Cecilia looked at her, stepping forward slightly. "I learned that all of the Elw disappeared after the war with the demons... But here you are in front of me..." She stopped for a second, then asked, "What's your name?"

          The girl looked at the floor, then at Cecilia. "My name is Mariel... I'm... I'm the only one left in Filgaia... I'm all alone..."

          "What do you mean alone...?" questioned Jack, watching her.

          Mariel looked at the floor, then without looking at the group she walked over to the flower, and knelt by it. Without looking up at the Dream chasers, she spoke, "I have to pay penance here. That's why I could not leave here with the rest of them."

          The group was silent for a moment, looking at the elw girl. Suddenly laugher sounded from over near the hut, the group turned to see who it was, Mariel stood, and stepped inbetween the hut and the flower.

          The boys from the town stood there. The eldest one stepped forward, ignoring the Dream Chasers, and addressed Mariel. "Hey, gimme that thing!" He commanded, pointing at the flower, "We want to play with it now!"

          She hid behind Rudy, as Jack glared at the kids, from the back of the group. "What a bunch of rat-faced kids. The three of them against one girl."

          Mariel looked back at Jack, then looked out from behind Rudy. /This boy in front of me... I feel I should know him... but from where.../

          The youngest child stepped forward, "That's an Elw. You'll be cursed!" he told Jack.

          Mariel winced as Rudy and Cecilia turned to look at her. To her surprise, Cecilia stepped next to her, while Rudy turned and walked upto the Eldest kid.

          The child glared at Rudy, he couldn't be more than a year or two younger than Rudy, "Hey, what..."

          Rudy glared back at him, on hand reaching to draw his one of his ARMs. The children backed up to the wall, "Our father is the mayor of this town!!" The kid who hadn't spoken yet stammered.

          The youngest kid piped up again, "You're gonna be cursed." He informed them, before he turned and ran back to town, the others following.

          The elw girl stared at Rudy. /I know him from somewhere... I'm certain/ "Why did you do that for me? No one has been nice to me in a long time... I'm supposed to be alone forever..." She whispered, Cecilia put an arm around the girls shoulders.

          "No one should be alone, Mariel, no one" she said.

The End

* * * * * * *

Author's Note: Whee! A shorty by me. I need practice in writing them for my Exams in May. Send comments to: . All flames will ignored, and I'll send the 3 Z's after you.

Tifa 9

P.S: If you don't know, The Three Z's are Zed from Wild ARMs, Zack from Final Fantasy VII, and finally Zell from Final Fantasy VIII.

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