A childhood friendship...Mother, sister, lover - these are the three close relationships that men share with women, and in some strange way, Merle tries to be all three for Van. After his mother abandons him, Merle is very protective of and proprietary towards Van, keeping track of his movements and soothing his hurts, both emotional and physical. Throughout their mutual childhood, she acts as his playmate and constant companion, even when it proves embarrassing to the young king. In a bittersweet yet comedic treatment, Merle frequently expresses her pre-adolescent desire to someday marry Van and continue her childish romance into the distant future. Naturally, Van simply accepts all of this emotional input and occasionally reciprocates in kind. He does feel fiercely protective of Merle, but his concern for her welfare is overshadowed by his perceived failure to adequately protect his subjects from the dangers of the world. In some ways, Merle is also very protect of Van and never hesitates to protect Van at all costs the twins Eriya and Naria spared Van's life once when Merle hauled herself in front of him, To his credit, he does not put her aside in his quest for strength and revenge, but it takes quite a while for her precocious wisdom to reach his stubborn ears.