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Their last dream

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Chapter 1

An improbable meeting

First published in French on September 29th 2011
First published in English on December 7th 2012

 

If the imagination of men is limitless also as Gaea was created by their dreams, so, in this world, nothing is impossible …

OoO

"The red is beautiful, but .... no! To be honest, I have to be realistic, the red is really too flashy ...
Um, I think I'll have to resign myself to choose a pastel version ... Maybe this one, the green with the embroidery of pink and purple flowers, would be a good solution, because the white is out of the question!
Isn't it, Hitomi?"

No answer.

The young woman with red hair got angry in front of mirrors.

"Hitomi ?"

Still no answer …

This timen she turned around and hit the garment on her sleepy friend's lap.

"Hitomi, wake up!"

A jump, Hitomi suddenly came out of her lethargy. She was sitting on a chair surrounded by a field kimonos thrown to the ground.

In front of her, her friend Yukari, hands on her hips, looking upset.

"Well, it's useful to bring a friend with I to choose your wedding outfit ... How long have you been sleeping?"
"Um … I don't know…"
"Yeah ... Well, now that you're awake, tell me what you think!"

Ceasing to grumble, Yukari donned the famous green kimono and pretended to close it with a nice pale yellow obi before admiring herself in a mirror screen.

And it had been three hours since the show had begun. After all this time to hear her best friend comment and re-comment one by one the kimonos of the shop, it was difficult to stay awake ...
That's why Hitomi, despite herself, had fallen asleep, the comfort of her armchair helping.

"Huh, what, that one, the green? Yes, it's not bad ... She nodded, still drowsy."
"Not bad or nice?"
"Frankly, he's handsome! And since you don't want white, it should be okay ... A good compromise …"

Apparently satisfied with the answer, Yukari dropped the kimono carelessly on a seat, while the saleswomen picked up the mess left by the endless fitting.
Then she slumped on an armchair and sighed, looking at the ceiling. In this shop dedicated to traditional ceremonial dresses, one of the most posh of Tokyo, she felt very uncomfortable.

It must be said that her flamboyant hair, tied in a ruffled bun and brimming with whimsical pikes, contrasted with the sober and chic atmosphere of the establishment.
Regarding her attitude ... The least we can say is that it was the opposite of calm and posed employees.

"You know whatHitomi? I'm fed up ! Yukari muttered by wallowing even more, arms dangling on the sides."
"Oh? Her friend wondered, turning her head.
"Yes, all that, it exasperates me. Susumu's father demanded that he finish his studies of management and international trade before we can get married.
I've loved it for ten years and I've been waiting all this time ... But now that the long-awaited deadline has come, and ..."
"Quoi ?
"I don't know, I'm not totally certain. Warning, it's not that I don't love Susumu anymore, but ..."
"But?" Hitomi asked by straightening up.

Yukari sighed. And, leaning on her arms, she sits down properly. For a few moments, she raised her head before starting to stare at the floor with a sad look.

"I think what's waiting for me doesn't really suit me. The Amano family is very traditional. Although they have traveled a great deal, they are not very open-minded Japanese. Susumu's grandmother is English, but when I see her, only her not slanting eyes betray her origins."
"And of course, you feel different, right?"
"Oh that! Yukari said with a voice more fun. Do you remember when I told you about the first meeting with the family?"
"Yes, they all stared at your flamboyant hair."
"ndeed, there are some who naturally have brown hair because of the grandmother, my color has traumatized them all!"
"At the same time, Yukari, red, is not natural as a hair color!" Hitomi replied with a laugh.
"Certainly, but from there to believe seeing a dragon land at home! Anyway, you already said when my hair was brown with pink highlights ... While you, you are ash blonde, very Japanese too ..."
"I remind you that for me, it's natural! It comes from my mother's great-grandmother ..."
"Who was Russian ... And who knew the great-grandfather when he went to Sakhalin for fish for his restaurant because this branch of the family is from Hokkaido ..."
"My word ! You know my own family better than me!" Hitomi quipped between two yawns.
"But enough joking, I think that green kimono will suit! Come on, let's go, I really need to stretch my legs!"

Whereupon, Yukari finally got up and picked up her things before talking to one of the saleswomen, still traumatized by the afternoon they had lived.

"I think I will opt for the pastel green one with the yellow obi. I'll come back and try it again anyway, okay?
I still have some time before the wedding and the dresser is already booked!"
"Well, Miss!" The lady replied politely, her voice edgy, visibly terrified at the sight of the tornado coming back to ravage her store.

Taking advantage of mirror, the young woman adjusted the chopsticks adorning her red hair, did the same for the wide petticoat of her multicolored dress and headed toward the exit to put on her ballerinas, as colorful as the rest of her outfit.

Hitomi, meanwhile, got up and picked up her bag, that she overthrowed awkwardly, dropping some books.
She hastened to pick them up while her friend quietly laughed at her clumsiness.

The saleswomen saluted them, opened the door to them, and watched them go away, visibly relieved. Now it remained for them to tidy up the mess!

OoO

As the two friends walked in the streets of Tokyo, the traditional district gave way to the glass buildings of Shibuya, the trendy place of the Japanese capital.
Yukari felt instantly released. she was walking lightly in the crowd, almost skipping.

Amused, Hitomi followed her but more calmly. Her hair, still ashy blonde, now touched her shoulders. They were quite stiff and floated freely with the wind.
Dressed in a simple blue dress, discreet little matching shoes, only her tote bag full of books betrayed that she thought of her studies first and foremost.

After several minutes to stop in front of the windows and to observe the new gadgets, followed by a salute to the statue of the dog Hachiko, Yukari continued her way more calmly and took a more serious look.

"It seems that in Europe, it doesn(t rain in summer, but more in autumn. No luck for me, we should leave in September for London!" She grumbled trampling on.
"So fast?"
"Yes, exams on July 23, results on the 30th, summer party on the 31th and we take care of the preparations for the wedding, which will take place on August 15th. After the family leaves us a week of respite and we're going to pack for Europe. I think that, this time, Susumu just has a training. We should come back to Japan by the end of October. But the next trip may be longer ..."
"You should not complain, you're going to travel!" Hitomi noticed, surprised by the melancholy of her friend.
"Yes, that's not wrong. But, Susumu warned me: to be Madame Amano will consist mainly in waiting for him because he will work enormously ... So, I would be alone most of the time ... I will miss you very much. You know, I'd like to take you with me ..." Yukari answered with a sad little smile as she turned to her best friend.

Imagining herself to play gooseberry between his two comrades and be lugged in front of all the monuments of Europe by a Yukari overflowing with energy, which would also make a shopping trip, Hitomi burst out laughing.

"Obviously it amuses you … My my my … But seriously, Hitomi, will you doing on your side?"

The question touched the person in the heart. This time, the young woman no longer smiled and began to flee the gaze of her accomplice.

"Si je réussis mon année, je crois qu’il ne me restera plus qu’à commencer mon internat. My father assured me that he would get me a good place in a quiet service. He told me about research labs. He is so happy that I chose to study medicine to follow in his footsteps … At first, he placed great hope in my brother, but …"
"Well, you know, Mamoru, studies, he never liked that … From primary school, he did not work much. His only talent was to imitate your father's signature on his notebooks full of bad grades, however every time …"
"He was caught … Dad finally resigned himself to the fact that his son never study on the long term. So, now everything depends just on me, while Mamoru wallows in front of the console since his return from high school, he has no problem, as long as his notes are average and he does not receive any words from the teachers ..."
"You should be happy, your father believes in you. No one encourages his daughter in a long and difficult university curriculum and then tells him to get married and stay home wisely!
Me, before I met Susumu, my parents wanted me to do something simple, like a saleswoman, then once married, hop, at home!"
"They have underestimated you!" Hitomi remarked. "I still think that you well studied in medicine …"
"Yes, but I chose this channel only to be with you, because, since I only study while waiting for this wedding, I had to do something and, good thing, it was with my best friend! And then, you exaggerate, last semester, I was still a client for remedial teaching, and I succeeded by a miracle …"
"You know Yukari, it's not because my father is a cardiologist that I want to become a doctor ..."
"Oh really?"
"Yes, a long time ago, I met a person who didn't need to work at all. She had chosen to become a doctor by conviction ... I would like to make it happen to realize her dream because she couldn't carry it out ..."

At these words succeeded a silence. Yukari instantly realized that her friend was referring to her disappearance ten years ago.

Immersed in her thoughts, Hitomi saw Millerna again. His mimicry and eccentricity reminded her of Yukari's.
Like her, her friend would also have to assume a marriage that would take away a lot of her freedom.

Hitomi realized that it had been years since she had thought about her trip to Gaea, but it was clear that it was well hidden in his memory.

After, briefly, Van's face appeared to her. Carrying her hand to her neck, she tried to tighten her pendant, but her fingers closed on themselves, reminding her that she hadn't had it for a long time.

In order to chase away all her memories of Gaea from her mind, the young woman shook her head brightly, under the astonished and worried look of Yukari.

"Hey Hitomi, do you feel good ?"
"Yes, yes !" The latter replied with a wide and forced smile.

Yukari was not stupid, she felt that her friend had suddenly changed her attitude.
Since this mysterious year she had disappeared and which she claimed not to remember, Hitomi sometimes had such moments of absence.

Indeed, despite suggestions for the kindly listening of her mother and best friend, Hitomi was convinced that oblivion seemed the best way to move forward.

"We will go home!" The young blonde woman said, deliberately changing the subject. "Didn't you tell me you had a dinner with the Amano family tonight?
Remember that you mustn't be late if you do not want the grandmother's famous look!"

What her friend has just said suddenly made Yukari completely livid.

"What time is it?"
"4:30 pm, why?"
"Because the family has also planned a kind of "tea-time", another idea of the English grandmother! My God, I just remember now that these damn British drink their tea at 5 pm!" Yukari yelled, holding her head in her hands.

As fast as possible, on the edge of panic, she grabs the hand of her friend, and ran to the nearest metro station, hustling many passersby.

With difficulty retaining his book bag to prevent him from falling back into the street, Hitomi was having trouble following the pace of walking.

Suddenly, Yukari stopped as fast as she started.

"Hitomi, I have a problem ! At last, another!"
"What?"
"I borrowed books from the university library, the deadline expires tonight! And as I have accumulated the delays, I think I will have a word in my file! A few days before exams, it's very bad! Already, that I'm not very talented ... I don't need this diploma, but if I fail at this session, the in-laws will not be happy!"
"So, I have to go return them for you, right?" Hitomi concluded, amused.
"Yes, s’il te please!" Yukari begged with big watery eyes. "Save me!"
"Okay…" The blonde young woman sighed smiling. "Give them to me, as if I didn't have enough in my bag!"
"Thanks, you're a love !" Her friend said kissing her on the cheek.

Hurry, Yukari pulled out two torn books from her bag, dropped them on her friend's outstretched arms, kissed her again, and fled at great speed.
"You surprise me there ..." Hitomi said to herself, puzzled. "You, who was the Queen of logistics, my "manager", as you said when I run, you really have the head elsewhere with this marriage ... My poor Yukari, this careless attitude doesn't look like you ... So ..."

Then, sighing ironic, the young woman went to the faculty, overhasty because the doors were closed at 17 pm on Friday nights ...

OoO

"17 h 15 ! Damn! Hitomi mumbled, looking at the clock which dominated the university library. Failed! Definitely, it's really a bad day! I couldn't revise because of fittings and, now, I'm coming too late ..."

Upset, she was ready to leave but mais a sudden breeze stopped her steps. So she turned back to the establishment.
The wind was rising and, come from nowhere, clouds began to darken the spring sky, until then clear blue.

However, Hitomi didn't really pay attention to this sudden change of weather, she felt attracted to the whisper of the wind, as if it asked her to enter the library.

The attraction was too strong, Hitomi stepped forward almost in spite of herself. Essayez avec cette orthographe : Gravissant les marches, elle s'aperçut que la porte était encore ouverte
Climbing the stairs, she realized that the door was still open and, passing the threshold, immediately got a grip on herself.
"Oh, a miracle! I may be able to give back these books eventually!" She noticed, relieved.

Once in the hall, she went to the only place still enlightened: the counter. The old guard was still struggling with his computer.
He was smoothing his mustache trying to solve an umpteenth bug of this system that he did'ot understand, but which he had to accommodate at the end of his career.

Having several times solved his computer problems, Hitomi knew him well, she went to her office without fear of being reprimanded.

"Hey young girl, you know it's closed at this time!" The old man remarked without stopping look at his screen.
"I know Mister Tanaka, but my friend forgot to return her books."
"Your friend, Miss Uchida with red hair, right? She lost her mind? Lately, she's still out of time to bring back her borrowings."
"Yes, but she is getting married very soon!" Hitomi answered, with a smile. "And the date approaches, the more she becomes distracted!"

The old man raised his head and shook it, looking jaded.

"Ah these girls, a party withbeautiful dresses, and they forget everything else ... Finally, it's good, I note that she respected the date. By cons, I'm too late and I don't want to wait for my train too long because my wife isn't patient, would you help me?"
"Yes Sir, if I can!"
"I don't have time to tidy the books and if the chief librarian sees them here, he will suspect that they were brought back after the deadline. So, you'd have to go upstairs, there's a trainee, a tall, pale guy, a Russian, I think. His name is Alexander, with an unpronounceable family name. Go see him and give him your friend's books. He will rank them neither seen nor known. It's a nice guy, although at first, his allure scary me as that of the flamboyant MissUchida!"
"Really?" Hitomi asked, looking interested. "Why he's so special?"
"Well, it's white like snow and tall like a tree. And to add a little more originality, he has pierced ears, gray hair and clothes … unusual … Finally, as the chief found him very erudite and that he was anyway too big for our uniforms, he doesn't say anything … Especially with his height, he quickly puts books because he doesn't need ladder. Also, he doesn't work in front of the public, so the appearance … So, having said this, the guard said, finally turning off his computer, I go! See you next time, Miss Kanzaki!"
"Thanks again!" The young woman answered, bowing.
"It's okay, after all the breakdowns you repaired, I owed you that! Goodbye, and say hello to Miss Uchida reminding her to think of keeping her head fixed on her shoulders instead of daydreaming at her D-day!"

After these words, the old man left the place, Hitomi watched him go away. When he disappeared from her sight, the wind was heard again and the atmosphere became oppressive.
This time, the murmur seemed to come from the floor. Feeling again like caught up, Hitomi started to climb the stairs.

At the upper level, a single lit lamp betrayed a presence. There were also some noises of books knocking on the shelves or falling on the floor as well as some incomprehensible swear words, probably in Russian.

Hitomi was intrigued by this voice. However, she was unable to know why. She had already heard strangers talking, so she shouldn't have been overly surprised, but there was something more subtle.

At the turn of an alley, she found the one she was looking for. Perched on a chair to reach the last shelf to put a book despite his size, he was an immense man.
Turning his back, he seemed visibly busy with his work.

His look caught the eye of Hitomi: faded jean, psychedelic tank top ... To this was added an eccentric hairstyle: gray hair with anarchic cut.
This simple observation made an obvious observation: he didn't have anything of the traditional librarian.

When she saw that he had finished putting away his last book, the young woman allowed herself to interrupt him

"Excuse me, Mister Tanaka allowed me to bring back books for a friend after closing. He told me that you could take care of them. It doesn't bother you?"
"Absolutely not! Please wait, I'm going down and we're looking for that."

He had spoken in an awkward Japanese, but perfectly understandable. Her intonation was strangely calm, which troubled the young woman.

This time it was sure and certain, that voice she knew it.
But from where?

She didn't have time to think that the young man turned around. Seeing him, Hitomi froze, dropping the books on the ground.

"No, it's not possible, it cannot be ..." She stammered.

Terrorized, the young woman stared at the man with fine features and lying. His hair was gray, with no green shade, his blue eyes, partly hidden by rectangular glasses with fine legs of glasses and, above all, his right arm of flesh and blood.
Apart from of these differences, Hitomi thought she saw Folken.

Then, all kinds of images flashed through her head: the first time she had seen him giving back his sword to Van in the floating fortress of Vione, their conversation in the ruins of Fanelia ... And then his death ...
She even saw his grave again.

In front of this unrealistic vision of a death that smiled on her, Hitomi lost consciousness.

Chapter Text

Their last dream

 

Fanfiction by Andromeda Mavros
http://www.hananokaze.org

Rating / Classement [+18]

First published in French on October 2nd 2011
First published in English on December 17th 2012

Chapter 2

Confrontation with the past

 

Disclaimer: The universe of The Vision Of Escaflowne belongs to Shoji Kawamori and the studio Sunrise, I'm just borrowing it for this story.
Except for a few characters and places that I created for the occasion.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

 

Noise, lots of noise, someone talked around... Lots… Hitomi opened her eyes. Everything was white.

Still dizzy, she turned her head aside and saw her mother leaning to her, smiling.

“My sweetie, you're finally awake... I've been really worried about you!”
“Mom, it's you? Where I am?”
“At the hospital, you fainted at the university library. Fortunately, a young man was there and immediately called for help. The poor one was so panicked that first he was screaming in Russian or another strange language, the emergency doctors didn't understand anything!”
“Ha? Hitomi replied, trying to remember those moments, a hand on her forehead. A Russian ? It does not remind me anything, it's strange ...”
“Anyway, that's what happened, darling. Moreover, the assitante ambulance that came on site, Sachiko, one of my friends, said he was really handsome! Hitomi's mom added, amused, hiding a small embarrassed smile with her hand.”
“How long have I lost consciousness?”
“About two hours. Sachiko called me immediately, seeing you there. So, I was already in the hospital when you arrived. I warned your father, he hasn't been able to see you yet, but he made sure that the staff take good care of you. All I hope is that your brother wouldn't have put the house upside down during my absence ...” She sighed.

Looking around, Hitomi was desperately trying to remember the events that preceded her fainting. `
But, nothing to do, the last image she saw was the library's clock indicating 5:15 pm.

After, nothing ...

Suddenly, the door opened. A man in surgeon's blue outfit appeared. Visibly panicked, he had difficulty holding a wad of leaves in his hand.

“Hitomi, how are you?”
“Calm down Shinichi, she has regained consciousness and she is coherent!” The mother of the young woman explained, getting up.
“Ha, fine!” The man blew as he slumped on a chair. “Sorry I wasn't able to come before because I was working on a heavy operation, I just left the surgery service.”
“Don't worry Papa!” Hitomi said as she sat down in bed. I'm fine. “I was too tired. I was with Yukari during the afternoon and, you know her, she is'nt quiet!”
“Yes, but a day of frantic shopping in good weather is not supposed to make you sick, on the contrary! You should still be careful. 106/5000
I know that you study a lot and that you don't sleep almost: that's the real problem!”
“Papa, you are the first to know that this year is decisive and that ...”
“It's a fact, but you will not do anything good by exhausting yourself! I checked your analyzes when arriving in the service: overall, you're fine, but you still have some deficiencies. We'll have to take care of yourself girl!”
“I understood the message, Dad! JI promise to eat well, to go to bed earlier and after the exams, I will enjoy the holidays in order to recover before starting the internship!”
“Good choice!” The surgeon nodded.

At ease, the man sighed before turning to his wife.

“Aya, you can take her home. I'm counting on you to make sure she's resting well! Me, I have to finish my guard ...”
“Okay, we're coming back. Hoping that Mamoru did not do anything stupid during my absence ...” Hitomi's mom said, wooried, as she collected her stuff.
“Don't worry!” Shinichi told her. “You know how is your son. Today, the weather was very hot for a month of July, so he had spending his time playing, sometimes getting up to go drink in the fridge! It's even possible that he fell asleep on the couch!”
“I cross my fingers hoping you're right! Alone, he isn't dangerous, but with his friends ... They can turn the living room into a battlefield ... Anyway ... Are you ready Hitomi?”

The young woman nodded, finishing getting dressed and putting on her shoes, pensively.
The feeling of having a blank in her day made her feel very uncomfortable.

For a few seconds she stopped in front of the window, looking at the university buildings that could be seen on the nearby hill.

For her part, her mother continued to hide her anguish behind small smiles, as the little joke about the young man who had helped her daughter.
For more than a decade, Hitomi's every concern had plunged her into a lot of stress, but she kept everything to herself ... which was sometimes difficult.

Hitomi shrugged in spite, wondering what had happened to her. Where did the strange cold which cross her at this moment come from?
She felt like having touched a ghost ...

OoO

In the suburbs of Kamakura, the next day, it was even hotter than the day before. This situation lasted from the beginning of spring.
If people believed the sayings of the ancients, it announced a scorching summer, which was already the case, as well as a typhoon season often rough.

Lying in bed, Hitomi was dozing. As she had promised her parents, she gave herself a well-deserved rest before going back to school in her seventh year of medicine.

Looking at her bedside table, she suddenly realized that her cell phone had not sounded since the day before, unusual.

When she caught it, she understood twhy. It was off. The battery probably had to empty.

“Knowing Yukari,” Hitomi thought, “she sent me six hundred messages since yesterday. If I don't answer, she will end up panicked!”

The young woman was right. Just plugged in and turned on, the phone vibrated. Fifteen messages waiting, all of Yukari, all in all not that much ...
Amused, Hitomi began reading. Thanks to that, she had the impression of reliving the famous evening in the place of her friend.

Thus, she learned that Yukari had arrived in extremis at Amano'house and, completely out of breath, she wasn't discreet. Also, Susumu's grandmother was drinking tea with a raised finger and wanting to imitate her, the young woman had dropped her cup, in short a difficult time to pass.

Just the time to read these summaries, as the phone rang. Yukari, of course!

“Hitomi, finally, I'm talking to you! Did you read my messages? Even so, you could have encouraged me! I was going to the toilet to write to you, the Amano family must now believe that I'm incontinent!”

The remarks sparked a real laugh to Hitomi.

“Stop making fun! Imagine that I repeat this kind of exploits on the wedding day, I will really lose all dignity! The worst thing is that Susumu is like you! He's laughing too!”
“Your clumsiness when you're worried is part of your charm! He loves it at your place!” Her friend ironyed.
“Of course, but in the meantime, the in-laws, I'm feed up! You don't know how lucky you are to be single. Your wish to put your studies and your career first, it's a great idea!”

While Yukari continued her speech on the supposed benefits of the vow of celibacy during the academic period, Hitomi let her mind fly away to Gaea, to Van.

A few seconds, she began to imagine him, adult, probably married, with children ... It had been years since she had thought of him, and there, in a short time, he had thought twice about him ...

Strange…

At first, when she returned home, she had thought that renouncing Van was totally beyond her capabilities, and yet ...
To move forward, she felt the need to forget him. Going back to Gaea, even after returning the problem hundreds of times in her head, it was impossible.

In her eyes, this world was above all traumatic memories. She was happy to finally be able to go home.
By refusing to think of Van, she had managed to put the young man out of her mind. Thus, she no longer felt his presence in her heart ...
Finally, maybe it was just a love of teenagers, but ... It seemed so intense at the time ...

As proof, she had finally kept this year of her life and her feelings in a corner of her head, like a treasure that she want to hide.
In any case, it was too late to have regrets. The lesson that Hitomi had learned from Gaea was that it was our choices that marked our path.
She had made a decision, certainly painful, but she assumed it.

Suddenly, the discontented voice of her friend on the phone took her out of her thoughts.

“Hitomi, you don't listen to me there!”
“Sorry Yukari, I'm tired.”
“Oh? Give back my books was so hard?”
“It's not that, I managed to bring them back even if it was in extremis, but I felt uncomfortable on the spot.”
“What? And you feel better at least? You want me to come?”
“Don't worry, I'm better! Today, parents want me to stay calm. If you want, you can go tomorrow because we have no class.”
“Tomorrow, I don't know if it will be possible. I have to go to the temple with the in-laws to do the first rehearsals of the ceremony, just that! But promised, I'll try to go as soon as they'll leave me alone!”
“Okay, it will be with pleasure!”
“Okay Miss! And you'll see, I'll bring you the best Tokyo cheese-cakes for you!”
“Thanks! I wish you good luck for tomorrow!”
“And above all, rest! Obey your parents, unworthy girl!”
“Well Miss, finally future lady, see you Monday!”
“Bye kisses!”

Hitomi hung up. Then, with a sigh, she dropped back onto her bed before starting to fix the ceiling.

No time to meditate, the bedroom door opened abruptly.

“You're boring Mamoru! You could at least knock on the door before entering!”
“Oh, that, miss-pity-me, don't hope! I just see if you don't sleep, Mom's order! Otherwise, you know I will not be here!”
“Ha? She dared to take you off your console?
“Let's say she was lucky, I was at a point of backup in my game...”
“Well, go back to having fun, I'm not sleeping! I'm just lying down, Yukari just called me. You can go and reassure her.”
“It's not to reassure herself. You wouldn't have heard with the talkative Uchida in your ears but it knocked at the door, a guy came to hear from you. You didn't tell me that you liked the Soviets, big sister!”
“A Soviet? You're crazy?”
“Nah, this is the guy in front of which you had your little discomfort yesterday, he came to see how you are. Frankly, you should make efforts, it's not an ordinary guy! Even if the look, I would have rather seen him with flaming hair Uchida!”
“You are silly…”
“Yes, well, that's not all, but my game session is waiting for me! I'll report to Mom.” Concludes Hitomi's younger brother as he leaves.

Mamoru wasn't really happy to see his sister in trouble. He was certainly worried about her, however, since her mysterious disappearance, ten years ago, their parents had "very easy panic" for her and that annoyed him deeply.

Going up his green apple baggy pants to avoid falling on the stairs, the teenager went down, towards the living room to resume his game.

Seeing briefly his red t-shirt, just as flashy as his pants, pass in her field of vision, his mother called him.

“Mamoru, how's your sister?”
“She's fine Mum, she was on the phone with the crazy girl.”
“Stop treating her friend so ...”

The teen grunted and went back to wallow in front of the screen. Mrs. Kanzaki sighed, fatalistic to the behavior of her son, before looking again at her interlocutor.

In front of her, the mysterious young man who looked so much like Folken was seated, a big bunch of flowers lying on the table.

He looked thoughtfully at every details of the room, especially family photos, while sipping the tea that Hitomi's mother had served him.

“Madam, I must say that you have a very beautiful house!” He said calmly. “Thank you for welcoming me.”
“It's me who have to thank you, young man! You rescued my daughter yesterday and you just asked for her news today, that's very kind of you.”
“Ha, you know, it's not every day that I see someone faint like that. I'm happy to know her in better condition, I was really worried.”
“My son told me that she was awake. If you want, you can bring him your beautiful bouquet, it will make her happy!”

Accepting the proposal, the young man stood up. Mrs. Kanzaki told him where Hitomi's room was.

For a moment, she told herself that she had acted lightly. In Japan, letting a young man enter a girl's room alone was not a habit.

However, strangely, the individual inspired him with total confidence.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the noise coming from the living room, and she went to lecture Mamoru who had put the TV sound too loud ...

For his part, the stranger, far too big, had to bend down to avoid bumping into the stairs. His caution paid, he reached the floor without a bump, and knocked on the door of Hitomi's room.

“Come in!” The young woman said, astonished.

When the door opened, the stupefaction was total. Again, Hitomi felt her mind become confused.
Forcing herself, the girl made an effort to not sink again, while bridles of memories from the previous day came back to her mind.

“You feel bad Mademoiselle? You want me to call your mother?”
“No, it's good ... Sorry, it's just that ... your face reminds me of someone ... I'm surprised, that's all ...”
“Ha? I remind you of someone? The young man asked, intrigued. Who?”

Perplexed by this request, Hitomi stared at him attentively. The resemblance to Folken, with the exception of the eyes, the hair and of course the arm, was obvious.

However, the man seemed younger. In fact, Folken, if he had lived, should have been in the age of thirty-five. There, the one facing her would have to be the same age as her.

“An old acquaintance, a friend's brother ...” She began to answer. “But…”
“But?”
“He died ... It's been ten years now.”
“Ha… I'm sorry … May I ask you what his name was?”
“Why?” Hitomi asked, taken aback.
“Please, don't blame me for being so curious but I am surprised that someone find a resemblance to a person and I would have liked to know his name.”
“So, his name was Folken…” She answered with difficulty.

Strangely, Hitomi was unable to pronounce his last name.
It was stuck in her throat as his visitor stared at the ceiling.

“Folken, Folken… No, it doesn't tell me anything ...”
“Tell me, were you talking about this story of resemblance, you don't have a family?”

The young man stopped his reflection, gently put his bouquet on an empty chair, standing, lost in his mind.

“In fact, I am amnesic. A decade ago, a farmer found me naked in a forest in Crimea, southern Ukraine. I had nothing close to me that could indicate where I came from. The worst thing is that I spoke a language that nobody could ever understand.
Finally, this gentleman, who had no son welcomed me and watched over me, including learning me his language. Also, using his small resources, he helped me obtain identity documents, which wasn't easy.”

The story stunned Hitomi. The resemblance, the fact that this young man appeared on Earth, with nothing, shortly after, the death of Folken ...
Too many coincidences ...

“So, he continued, I didn't introduce myself, my name is Alexandre Ychnikov. My name was chosen by this peasant who became my adoptive father, Lev.
He thought I had a certain distinction, so he insisted on giving me a tsar's name because he thought that something common wouldn't suit me. At the time, it was estimated that I was between fifteen and twenty years old. At the end of a few years and several bribes hardly paid by my savior, who left all his savings, I was given an official identity.”
“And, how did you come to Japan?” Hitomi asked, more and more lost.
“Ha, that's also pretty stunning! Two years ago, like every day, I worked in the fields when, I don't know why, I turned around. And then, my eyes crossed that of a walker who passed by. We stared in amazement, there was a strange resemblance between us.
This man was old enough, he could have been my father, maybe even my grandfather, I don't know ...
With a hint of humor, He explained to me that he was practically sure of not having children. On seeing him, my adoptive father insisted on inviting him to the house, the strange family air had also stunned him.”

Captivated and silent, Hitomi listened attentively to Alexandre's words.

“So, he came to our house. He told us about his life, he was a traveler. He didn't tell us where he came from, the only thing he suggested was that going back was a dangerous idea.
Seeing in him an unexpected opportunity to know who I was, I wanted to follow him. Lev was perplexed, while admitting that this meeting couldn't be a mere coincidence.
For him who helped me, it was important that I find the answers to all the questions I asked myself, so I had to leave.
Given all that I had cost him, I was indebted to him. t was then that the mysterious traveler pulled out an astonishing bundle of rubles for my adoptive father, promising to watch over me and help me in my quest for truth.
Thus, I accompanied this man in his crossing of Russia, he taught me several languages, history, geography and thanks to him, I acquired a good general culture.
Also, when two months ago we landed in Japan, I quite easily found this job at the university despite my appearance.”
“Your story is amazing! But tell me, what is the name of this man with whom you travel?”
“Meinmet, Meinmet Fanel. Be aware, however, that he assured me that he no longer had a family, it's why he travel. I don't think it could have anything to do with your friend who lost his brother ...”

This time, Hitomi was on the edge of fainting again. The name “Fanel” no, it could no longer be a mere coincidence. Everything jostled in her head and, in a form of panic, she began to cry.

Seeing her discomfort, Alexander immediately called for help. Hitomi's mother and brother came running.
Aya tried to appease her daughter by talking to her, without success.

Again, the young woman found herself drowned in a torrent of memories.
But the most difficult thing was to see Folken lying in a pool of blood in parallel with the face of the mysterious young man.

After a few moments, exhausted, Hitomi began to calm down. And while she saw Alexander leaving the room to let her rest, she had a vision: young Folken playing with his brother.
No doubt, the sweet smile was the same, as if this man was Folken, but without the trauma of amputation or the ten years spent in Zaibach ...

OoO

Still in shock at his astonishing interview with Hitomi, Alexander went home thoughtfully. He kept repeating the name of Folken aloud.
The more he said it, the more he inspired him, but why?

Arrived at his home, he sighed and opened the door. The air jaded, he smiles at the sight of an old man screaming in front of his video game.
Indeed, sitting on the parlor tatami, was a man, close to the eighty years bearded wearing a colorful shirt and light gray hair, long, who grumbled as much as he could.

After taking care to stop his game, he turned to the young manl with a big smile.

The individual had to be in his sixties as the wrinkles and the color of his hair were identical to that of a long braided beard.

Despite his old age, he looked teasing and bright.

“Ah you fall well, I was going to eat! Your outing went well? Your fainted lady is better?”
“Well, not really ...” Alexandre sighed, sitting in a floor suit near a library. “She was still on the edge of discomfort when I left.”
“Poor girl! The Japanese are known to impose infernal rhythms on their students ... I bet you it's been weeks that she eats nothing and sleeps no more!”
“Maybe, but it does not seem to come from that ... I'd rather say it's because of me. Already, when she saw me again, she was disturbed, but discussing it was even worse ...
I have a strange feeling, I don't know ... Like when we met, you and me, in Russia, I have the impression again to touch a piece of my past.”
“What do you mean?” The old man questioned.
“Well, I don't know ... She told me about a man she had known who looked a lot like me. Unfortunately, he died ... And then she asked for your name and when I answered, she seemed panicked!”
“Hum, interesting ...”
“Why?”
“I think she knows something ... I want to be sure!”
“Something on what?”
“About my origins and, perhaps, yours!”
“You never wanted to tell me where you came from! The little that I know, finally that you explained to me, it's precisely that you have no attachment any more! So, I don't really understand how she could know things about you!”
“Alexandre, give me her address and wait for me to speak to her, after we will discuss your case. But, first, let's eat!”

Stopping conversation, the old man went to work in front of the small kitchen part of the house, commenting on each of his gestures, while Alexandre remained silent, sitting, storing books.

Definitely, all this was no sense ...

Chapter Text

Their last dream

Fanfiction by Andromeda Mavros
http://www.hananokaze.org

Rating / Classement [+18]

First published in French on October 4th 2011
First published in English on January 2nd 2013

Chapter 3

Last wish granted

 

Disclaimer: The universe of The Vision Of Escaflowne belongs to Shoji Kawamori and the studio Sunrise, I'm just borrowing it for this story.
Except for a few characters and places that I created for the occasion.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

 

The hot water was bliss. Hitomi liked to enjoy a good bath. After many emotions, the young woman relaxed. This calm and warmth avoided her from thinking too much.

Originally, that evening, her parents had planned a dinner together. However, after the panic attack of the day before, they had changed their minds.

Not wanting to see them deprive themselves because of her, Hitomi had long reassured them, promising to eat her meal, take her bath and go to bed.
The argument had finally convince and the young woman was in the second stage of her program when the voice of her brother was heard from behind the door of the bathroom, taking her out of her torpor.

“Hey, Hitomi, I found something under the door by passing into the hallway. Apparently, this is a letter for you, I pass it under the door. Who knows, this may be your beautiful Russian!”
“What? You didn't read it, I hope?” Hitomi said, angry.
“Oh, would I understand somethinginteresting? No that's not it. I admit, I opened it, but I realized that it was full of schemas ... So without reading, I quickly realized that it was not a love letter, but more a thing for a homework, so ....”

Fed up with Mamoru's attitude, Hitomi plunged into her bath, grumbling.
However, the vision of the envelope protruding from under the door attracted her. She finally decided to leave the water, wrap herself in a bathrobe and pick it up.
The mail included a handwritten page, and also several sheets covered with drawings of landscapes, objects and coats of arms.
One of them caught the young woman's eyes directly, it was Fanelia's coat of arms!

Stupefied, she began to read the letter.

“Dear Demoiselle,

I'm Meinmet Fanel, the man that Alexandre told you about. I allow myself to write to you because that seems to me the best way that we understand each other.

Indeed, I think we have one thing in common, here, for us, it's not so much the Earth, but rather the Moon of Illusions!”
(Author's note: This is the literal translation of Mystic Moon from the anime “maboroshi no tsuki")

These first words ... No, it wasn't possible. Alexandre's travel companion would come from ... Seeking answers, Hitomi continued reading.

“First, let me introduce myself more accurately, my birth name is Meinmet Alzacour de Fanel.
If my calculations are correct, I'm about seventy years old in your measure of time.

According to Alexandre, Fanel's name made you react strongly, which makes me think that you are particularly familiar with my country of origin: Fanelia.

Of course, not knowing what circumstances have led you in my world, I cannot know the encounters you have made there.

However, I think that if you know my homeland, you must have heard of my elder brother, who was my twin, his name is Goau, and he's probably the Sovereign of this country now.”

“Goau Fanel ... The father of Van and Folken, but ...” The young woman thought aloud. “This man would be Van's uncle ... It's crazy ... How did he get on Earth, in Japan?”

Hoping to find answers in the following lines, she plunged into the mail again.

“Anyway, tired of being the second son, marked at the birth of a notched cross on the cheek to avoid confusion with the first born, I had the idea to travel through Gaea.
I was almost twenty years old and that seemed to me the only real way to escape the different conflicts that I had with my family, even if that broke my heart to be separated from my brother, to whom I was deeply attached and who had always supported me.

During my expeditions, one day, in a forest, I found quite recent dragon bones. This unusual fact astonished me because these animals tend rather to die in particular valleys.
Among the carcass of the animal, I found his drag-energist. To my immense surprise, the simple touch of my fingers on the stone triggered a pilar of light and I lost consciousness.

Once again conscious, looking at the sky, I quickly realized that I was on the famous Moon Illusions which so many legends speak about.
Strangely enough, I immediately understood Greek, the language of the inhabitants of the places I discovered, namely the island of Santorini.

For years, on foot, I traveled this amazing world. I first visited Western Europe and then North Africa.
Then, I went back to the north, where my route crossed that of Alexandre, to finish at the east end of Asia, in your country. The discovery of peoples and cultures that I didn't even imagine gave meaning to my existence.
Now, I realize that I cannot really travel anymore. Also, my last wish would be to see again my country and especially my brother.
I may have returned my energist stone in all directions, she never wanted to trigger a pilar of light.
Knowing that you went on Gaea, I think you could help me. Especially, I also think I could help Alexandre. In fact, since I met him, I have the deep conviction that he and I share the same blood.

I would be grateful if you would come to Kamakura Park tonight at 7:00 pm. We will be able to talk calmly without anyone listening to us and taking us for lunatics.
I sincerely hope you will come because what you know on my planet is perhaps my last hope to return there.

Yours truly,

Meinmet Fanel
Prince of Fanelia”

Incredible, it was amazing, Hitomi slumped at the bottom of the bathtub, stunned by her reading.

She, who had done everything to escape the memory of Gaea, was finally caught up in almost surreal circumstances ...
All these coincidences ... It was obvious that it couldn't be only chance ...

“Van's uncle ... She thought. Now I cannot deny what happened to me, the fact that I traveled on Gaea ... I don't think this old man give up like that to his wish and, also, it would be petty for me to refuse him some information that would allow him to go home to finish his days. He doesn't give me time to think ... Delicate ...
Finally, my faith, if I can help him and this Alexandre too ... After all, it doesn't engage me to anything, I can tell them what I know and let them do the rest ...”

Her decision made, Hitomi looked at the clock in the bathroom. It was just 6 pm, she had time to go to the meeting.

Then, trying to ignore the images of Gaea that came back to her memory despite herself, the young woman dressed up.

For a moment, looking at herself in a mirror, she saw herself at fifteen, filled with doubt and anguish.

A little later, seeing her take her bag and put on her shoes, Mamoru, briefly giving up his television, was surprised.

“You're going out?”
“Yes, if they come before me, please tell the parents that I'm fine. I'll just take à breath!”
“That's not what was agreed ... They will be angry!”
“And it will be me who will be reprimanded! Look, if it suits you, you just have to say that you didn't hear anything with your TV ...”
“Let me guess, are you going to listen to Miss Uchida complaining?”
“No, forget it ...” Hitomi said, coldly, closing the door behind her.

This almost aggressive tone surprised Mamoru. He was used to seeing his sister more kind and especially more disciplined ...

Seeing her leaving like that at the end of the day when she had promised the opposite to the parents, it was strange ... However, too hurried to continue his game, the teen did not worry more than that.

OoO

Kamakura Park was quiet at this time. It was soon the meal time and the day was slowly declining.

The sun was soon going to hide behind the mountains of the west. Finally, a little freshness was going to relieve the inhabitants of the surroundings of the bay.
Dressed in a light green dress with a ruffled neckline, matching her eyes, Hitomi was crossing the park. Given its immensity, she wondered how she would be able to find the old man when, suddenly, she heard:

“Youhou, Miss Hitomi!”

She turned around and saw an old bearded man in shorts, colorful t-shirt, flip flops and straw hat. Standing on a pile of bags, he was waving at her.

Beside him, sitting on a bench, stood Alexandre, without glasses, dressed in black jeans and a tank top, visibly distressed by the attitude of his acolyte.

tunned by the unexpected behavior of the one who wanted to meet her, Hitomi stepped forward hesitantly.
She thought that Meinmet look like Muten Roshi-san in Dragon Ball ...

Jumping from his perch with disconcerting ease given his advanced age, the old man which scar in his face was clearly visible, bowed to her and took her hand which he touched with his lips in a most unexpected baisemain.

“Ha, I'm happy to see you, girl, thank you for responding to my invitation!”
“Nice to meet you, I don't know what to say ... I know Gaea, I ...”
“Oh, I was sure! How long have you been there? Tell me, do you know my brother Goau, if only by name?”

While Hitomi was sitting, embarrassed, on the bench, Alexandre, taken aback, asked:

“Your brother? You have a brother? And how would she know him? And what about this story of? I need to understand why all this mess! Since this morning, you are completely fool ... And I, I listened to you and prepare luggage ...”
“In fact,” Hitomi said, “Meinmet seems to come from another world than I know because I have gone there ...”

She began to tell Gaea's story to a stunned Alexandre. Meinmet nodded while completing the remarks.

For the young man, all this seemed completely unreal. Another planet, created by the Atlanteans, which could be his native land, that was incredible.

“You're crazy, but …” Alexandre stammered, while stood up and held his fists tightly, looking away. “And, if eventually ... all this was the truth, who would I be?”

Meinmet didn't know what to answer. On her side, Hitomi blew a big blow before continuing her explanation that promised to be delicate.

“So I went to Gaea ten years ago. I stayed there for about a year. There, I met a young man named Van, Van Fanel.”
“And?” Meinmet and Alexandre asked at the same time.
“Van was the son of a man named Goau, King of Fanelia, but ...”
“But what?” The old man whispered, his voice trembling, afraid to understand.
“This man had died a dozen years ago, apparently from illness ... I'm sorry ...”

Hearing these words, Meinmet collapsed on the bench. His eyes swelled with tears and, resting his elbows on his knees, he took his head between his hands to hide his sobs.

“My brother, you didn't wait for me ... If you knew, Goau ... For all his years, you were the only person I missed.
I imagined myself coming home one day and telling you about my journey. Now, I know I will never hear you laugh at everything amazing that happened to me ...”

A heavy silence, the old man saw his brother, in all respects identical to him physically, with the exception of the cross on the cheek he didn't have, however more calm and posed.

All sorts of good memories came back to the memory of the old man ... His childish games, his joys and sorrows, but especially his painful farewell to his brother.

Closing his eyes, he imagined Goau waiting for him, also old now, with the same smile as before.

“Are you alright, Sir?” Hitomi asked, leaning over to him, moved to see him so sad.
“Yes, thank you ... That my brother is no longer alive was a possibility, I should have considered it. It's strange, twenty-two years ago, I had a heart attack ... Who knows, perhaps at the same time, the heart of my dear brother had, meanwhile, stopped for eternity.”

A little apart, Alexander seemed lost. He dared not say anything. The names of Goau and Van resonated in him, but ...

It was like the name of Folken, again, nothing concrete, just a destabilizing feeling of deja vu ...

After a few tears, Meinmet recovered. Aware that he would never see his brother again, he remained eager to know more.

“But tell me, girl, what connection could exist between me and Alexandre? I always felt something between us, starting with the resemblance ...”
“Your brother had two sons. Hitomi explained in a tense voice. Van was the younger. His other son, ten years older, was called Folken. However, he died, he must have been a little over twenty-five years old. I saw him die of my eyes. Nevertheless, when I saw Alexander, I thought I had Folken in front of me ... I don't understand ...”
“So I am looking like a dead person?” Alexandre asked in a frightened voice. “I am a living dead? A ghost ?”
“No, you look a lot like Folken, but you're not him. You look younger ... And most importantly, the man I knew had his right arm amputated ... Also, his eyes were of a kind of pinkish red and his hair a strange greyish green.”
“The look of energist and the hair of the color of the corpses that putrefy ... Meinmet declaimed solemnly. One of the curses of the Dragon God People (Author's note: This is the literal translation of japanse name from the anime). How could my nephew be like this?”
“It turns out that your brother married a woman of this people, against the opinion of the majority.” Hitomi said. “And from this union were born Folken and Van. But if the elder had a physique that betrayed his origins, the younger had a normal appearance, all that is more human, except for some reflections color energist in the eyes ...”

Meinmet burst out laughing, the explanation seemed to be enormously amusing. Faced with this sudden change of attitude, Hitomi and Alexandre were disconcerted.

“My brother made an original marriage, amazing coming from him who was, unlike me, pretty disciplined! I imagine the heads of the old religious, they probably had eaten their prayer books!”
“I don't know the details, I just know it was not easy ...”
“And what happened to this lady?”
“She disappeared, she was never found. Folken didn't return from his dragon hunt, she went looking for him, but never came back ...”

ll these revelations had surprised Meinmet. He asked various questions about Fanelia and her trip to Hitomi.

The existence of the Great War and his story saddened the old man. On the other hand, to hear about his family, his nephews pleased him a lot.
He likes Van's personality. He was also deeply touched by the tragic fate of Folken.

Staying away, listening attentively to each word, Alexandre was thinking.
Hearing about this man, Folken, did not remain anything specific to him, but the knowledge that died almost at the time when he had awakened amnesia in the middle of the forest was disturbing him more and more.
So, he dares to interrupt the conversation.

“And me, I'm Folken without being him?”
“I don't be able to say who you are, guy!” The old man replied. “Hitomi said all she knew about him, now, I think, to find answers, we'll have to go back to Gaea!”
“Okay!” Alexandre acquiesced. “I want, but how? We came with the suitcases at your request, that said, I guess the trip will be “special”!”
“In fact, that's where Miss Hitomi comes in!” Meinmet explained, triumphant.

Hearing this remark, the young woman recoiled. The idea of going back to Gaea was no way for her.

“I want to explain how I ended up there, but that's all!”
“That will be usefull already, I think my energist just needs a little more power. The old man explained.
If you could show me the place where the pilar of light that caught you took place, it could help me! I'm hopeful that the residual energy that has persisted in this place will be enough ...
Anyway, this is my last chance to go home ... The place where I arrived in Greece, is today a parking for tourist bus, I doubt to be able to do anything there.
Concerning the forest where Alexandre was found, his adoptive father taught us, by mail, that a huge agro-food factory was going to be built there ...
In short, there is no longer any other possibility ...
“Well!” Hitomi said, anxious. “The pilar that brought me to Gaea happened near the temple, I'll take you there.”

OoO

As promised, the young woman brought the two men to the temple where, long ago, Van had killed a dragon under her eyes.
Returning to this place troubled her, she had never dared to came back before.

Of course, she had talked about Van to Meinmet, but especially had not mentioned her relationship with the young King, taboo subject for her.

On the way, seeing Alexander completely stoic despite the insane aspect of what he lived, she wanted to talk to him to understand what he thought.

“All this escapes your understanding?”
“I admit that this morning, when Meinmet told me not to go to work because he wanted to go home and he needed you for that, I couldn't believe it, I thought gone mad... At the same time, my life is so strange ...
This story of pilar of light, my adoptive father told me about it. Just as impossible as it's, I don't believe in chance ...”
And then, you're the proof that it's not a senile old man's delirium!” The young man answered with a melancholy smile.
“It must be hard not to know who we are and where we come from ...”
“In fact, I feel empty, just empty ... I only read for hours to the point of having to wear glasses after those long readings.”

Alexandre had said that with great sadness. Listening to him, Hitomi felt how lost he was.
He seemed to wander in this world, almost transparent, clinging only to the hope to find a track about the meaning in his existence.

The march continued in silence. Arrived at the destination, Hitomi found that the places of the first pilar of light hadn't changed.

As she climbed the stairs leading to the first temple, still topped by several red arches, she could see the dazzling ascent of the dragon ...

Meinmet and Alexandre followed. Not appreciating the solemn side of the trip, the old man decided to break the silence by asking Hitomi about details on the formation of the pilar of light, hoping to learn something useful for his return.

For his part, Alexandre closed the march by carrying the bags without saying a word. Perhaps he followed the movement only out of curiosity?

Nevertheless, if being told that he looked like a dead man had destabilized him, it was far less than it would have expected from an ordinary person.
ndeed, he had always felt different from others, always a spectator, like a ghost, and there, he was told that he could be one. Coincidence?
As improbable as Gaea's existence was, he needed to believe it.

Finally, they arrived on the esplanade of the temple. Meinmet asked Hitomi to locate the pilar of light as precisely as possible. She pointed to the place and moved away quickly.
The old man called Alexandre and began to search in the bags that the latter was carrying, from which he finally pulled out a strange pink stone.

Hitomi immediately recognized an energist, pale, as if it was extinct. Meinmet started shaking it in all directions, without success. He asked Alexandre to do the same, no results ...

“Ha, damn stone, I hate you! How can you refuse an old man to return to the land of his ancestors to finish his days?”
“In my opinion, it is not by talking that you will activate it!” Alexandre remarked cynically.

Meinmet groaned even more on the stone. Realizing that night was falling, Hitomi thought it was time to go home, her parents wouldn't be being back soon and might be worried about her.

“I'm sorry, I sincerely hoped for you that it was okay ... So, my parents will be back soon, I have to go home, and ...”
“I understand, thanks you, Hitomi!” Meinmet sighed as he dropped to the floor. “To have too wanted to flee, I am prisoner here ...”

Moved by his helplessness, she approached to comfort the old man. As she just touched his shoulder, the energist began to shine. Then a circle of light appeared on the ground, surrounding the three protagonists.

If Meinmet didn't hide his joy at having reached his goal, Alexandre remained completely frozen.
Concerning Hitomi, she wanted to get out of it, but impossible, her legs were paralyzed. Without being able to do anything, she began to feel her feet coming off the ground.

“What is that?” Alexandre asked, completely disoriented.
“This is the ticket of the trip tp Gaea!” Meinmet answered with a smile.

Night had fallen. A beam of light springs to the starry sky, taking with him Meinmet, Alexandre and Hitomi.

Chapter Text

Their last dream

Fanfiction by Andromeda Mavros
http://www.hananokaze.org

Rating / Classement [+18]

First published in French on October 6th 2011
First published in English on January 21th 2013

Chapter 4

Time of reunion

 

Disclaimer: The universe of The Vision Of Escaflowne belongs to Shoji Kawamori and the studio Sunrise, I'm just borrowing it for this story.
Except for a few characters and places that I created for the occasion.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

 

The Moon of Illusions was shining in the summer sky. The month of the Golden Moon, like the color of corn, offered short, but hot nights. The atmosphere was festive on the lakeside, the soldiers celebrated a brief and without victim campaign. The next day, they would be back in their homes.
For them, the military career was especially pleasant when it was just a show of force to some members of an indigenous tribes who had ventured out of their territory.
And the best moment was still when they laughed at seeing the enemy, overwhelmed by the forces at hand, running away.

Away from the festivities, three people felt a strange malaise: a young man sprawled between two barrels, a bottle in his hand, a woman who was washing clothes in the lake and another man sitting on a rock.
On the torso of the latter, through his armor yet thick, a small pinkish light appeared. Then he looked up at the sky, as did the two others at the same moment.

A pillar of light had just appeared near them ...

OoO

Buttocks stuck in a bush, Meinmet howled in every language he knew. Alexandre, well fallen for his part, was desperately trying to take him out from this uncomfortable situation.
A little further, Hitomi regained consciousness. Indifferent to her two traveling companions, she stared at the Earth and the moon in the middle of the stars and this vision made her tremble.

Finally getting rid of the bush that had received it, Meinmet remarked ironically:

“Oh My God my world receives me well!”
“The least that we can say is that you made an original touchdown! Alexandre joked. Note, this would have been worse if there had thorns!

Thinking of this possibility, the old man made a strange grimace.
Then, taking advantage of being standing on his feet again, he finished shaking his clothes and removing the leaves from his beard and hair.

For his part, Alexander began to look around him, perplexed. In fact, he was experiencing a destabilizing impression of deja-vu.

In an unkonow place that should not even exist, he should have had at least some concern, but that was not the case. He felt a strange peace in front of this forest bordering a lake lit by the Earth and the Moon.

“I'm at home?” He thought aloud.

Hitomi turned to him smiling. She sincerely hoped that he would find the answers to his questions on Gaea.
No doubt it was largely due to his so familiar appearance, she felt a sincere sympathy for the young man.

Observing again her home planet, Hitomi wondered about what will happen. From what she remembered, the pillars of light never landed at random.

Without thinking too much, considering the aspirations of travelers, they should not be far from Fanelia.
Fanelia …

Hitomi thought again of Van, trying to imagine what he could look like, what he had become ...

“Well, young people,” Meinmet explained observing closely the starry sky, “From what I remember, this lake is on the territory of Fanelia. I would go around it following the north, it seems to me that we are close to a fishing village.”

Disturbed in their meditation, Hitomi and Alexandre nodded and began to follow the old man, who was advancing resolutely on the shore.

“Hitomi, I'm sorry for bringing you here. Meinmet said. I think you don't want to come back. This time, I think we will not be able to do anything with my pebble. However, I am hopeful that someone can help us. Meanwhile, I assure you all my encouragement. And that's true for you too, Alexandre!”
“Encouragement, I feel I'm going to need it ...” The latter whispered, baggage in hand, remembering his resemblance to the deceased Prince of Fanelia.

Hitomi, on the other hand, was silent, her mind elsewhere, her hands clenched on her purse, the only thing she had with her, more derisory than the gym bag that had accompanied her the first time ...

OoO

Walking a good time, the small group eventually find a real trail. They followed it. While advancing, Meinmet declaimed a monologue about his memories of youth.
However, neither Hitomi nor Alexandre, who was walking several meters back, didn't really listen to him.
Suddenly, the old man stopped and held out his arm to signal the others to do the same.

“Someone comes to meet us!” He said suspiciously.

Before them three silhouettes appeared. AAs they approached, the travelers saw on the left, a tall, thin young man, staggering a little, and on the right, a smaller person, obviously in armor, who was holding a long stick to walk.
In the middle, another young man, less tall than the other, was advancing steadily and resolutely.

Hitomi stared at him, the closer he came, the more the light of the reflection of the Illusion Moon illuminated his face.
Moved, the young woman crossed her hands over her mouth before dropping them, dangling as if her strength was leaving her. She wanted to scream. What she didn't know. And, suddenly, she was choking. Her legs were shaking.

He was brown, his longest strands of hair were held in a catogan, the others fell anarchically on his visage. He had a three-day beard and his big eyes seemed filled with sparks.

In spite of herself, as if she was pushed by an invisible hand, Hitomi emerged from the shadow of the tree where she had stopped and found herself illuminated by a ray of light.

Seeing her, the young man in the middle rushed towards her.

“Hitomi, I don't dream, it's really you!”

He hugged her so hard that she could hardly breathe crushed against his armor. She dared not believe it, and yet the scent of that skin, that of the meadow, she knew it.
Van's images flashed in her mind, no doubt it was him who held her in his arms.

The astonishment and the fear went away, she relaxed and tears ran down her cheeks.
Hearing hersob, the young man loosened his embrace and lifted her face gently with one of his gloved hands.

This smile ... Yes, it was Van! The fine beard really made him look like an adult man and Hitomi noticed that he was almost a head taller than her, as before, he was just a little taller.

“You're back!” The King said in a moving voice. “For the past ten years, I have hoped for it and, finally, my wish is fulfilled! JI was daydreaming and, suddenly, I had a strange sensation. This is where I saw the pillar of light appear. So, I felt irresistibly attracted, I had to go in its direction.
My presentiment was good, I found you ... You know, I never stopped thinking about you and, look!” he said pulling a chain from his armor. “I always have with me the pendant you gave me.”

Seeing this, Hitomi was touched in the heart. While she had done everything to forget him, he only lived to see her again, she felt embarrassed and didn't know what to say.

Suddenly, the reunion was interrupted. One of the people accompanying Van rushed to Alexandre.

Her voice, warm, a little serious, with a very marked accent, betrayed that it was a woman.

“No, it's not true, ghosts don't exist!”

Using her stick as a weapon, she put the young man down in a split second. Surprised, he didn't have time to try to defend himself.

Incredulous, Alexander stared at her, she had a nightmare face. A wide cut crossed her face diagonally, leaving the right eye bloodshot to stop at the corner of her mouth, and countless other nicks marked her.
Her hair was almost solar-blond, some tied in little braids, with her lips still well drawn and luscious, however charming.

However, the scars and the determined expression created a strange feeling.
Her green mottled look, with the eye under the scar much darker than the other, had something magnetic, it made forget the scars and the nose a little too marked.

Without any difficulty, she kept her prey on the ground, crushing the throat of her foot, while pressing one end of her stick just below his ribs.
nder this constraint, breathing was painful. The show of force was surprising coming from a so little woman.

Fixing her eye to eye, Alexandre felt one morte time a strange sensation of dejà-vu as she held her gaze with an expression of visible annoyance.

Perplexed by the violence of the scene he had just witnessed, Van put an end to the face-to-face.

“Yiris, calm down! What is happening?”
“It's nothing, Your Majesty, my sister must be in a bad period. She must have wanted to hit the first comer!” The young man with the King joked as he came out of the shadows.

Hitomi watched him, he made her a little scared. As dark as his sidekick was blonde, his thinness and features were all the more angular. Concerning his eyes, their icy blue helped to make him a cold and somewhat devious look.

Facing him, the young woman felt a kind of anguish.

Looking badly at the one who said he was her brother, Yiris released a little the pressure on the neck of Alexandre.
For his part, Meinmet approached Van and spoke to him.

“Excuse me, young man, but your friend is committing a mistake. My traveling companion is calm and harmless. I beg you, tell her to release him.”

Taken aback, the Sovereign detailed his interlocutor whose face seemed strangely familiar to him.

“And to whom have I the honor?”
“Meinmet Alzacour de Fanel, Prince of Fanelia, finally back home after more than forty years traveling on the Moon of Illusions! The old man proudly replied, showing a dagger which handle was marked with Fanelia's emblem.
“A royal dagger indeed!” Van noticied. “So, you would be my father's brother? I knew that this one had disappeared a long time ago. Who would have thought he had gone to the Moon of Illusions? Anyway, I'm glad to meet you, Uncle!”
“Me too, my nephew!”

The two men smiled at each other. Amused, Hitomi observed the interaction between them: no doubt, they were of the same blood.

“Definitely, it is a well rewarding night! Not only my Hitomi came back to me, but in addition, I meet my uncle ...”
“And the ghost of your brother!” Yiris added, with her strange accent, still holding Alexandre immobilized.
“I want to tell you that I don't like the joke!” The king replied firmly to the young woman.
“So come and see with your own eyes!”

Gently, Van left Hitomi and begged her to stay with Meinmet. Then, heading towards Yiris, he ordered her brother to:

“Constantin, watch over them!”

Hitomi stared at the lean young man again. Decidedly, he wasn't reassuring. The small smile he made gave her a shiver of anguish ...

Arrived near Alexandre, Van remained stunned by stupor.

“No, that's not possible Who are you? How can you look so much like my dead brother? You are a false-person, right?”
“A false-person? What is that? My name is Alexandre. I'm a normal man, I beg you, trust me!” The one concerned replied hardly.
“He tells you the truth!” Hitomi affirmed.

The young woman and Meinmet began to explain the story of Alexandre to Van. Yiris and he seemed very skeptical about such a story.

“Either, I believe you!” The King said. After all that happened with Zaibach, I must be suspicious. This individual will accompany us to the camp, we will advise returning to the city. Constantin, Yiris, watch it well and don"t hesitate to intervene at the slightest suspicious gesture!”

Always on the ground, Alexandre watched Van for a long time, still this strange feeling of knowing without knowing, destabilizing ...

Giving a last look, visibly annoyed, to the one that reminded him so much of Folken, Van then went to Hitomi and put his hand on the shoulder, inviting her and Meinmet to follow him. Constantin followed them.

For hze part, Yiris finally let Alexandre get up and collect his stuff.
Ready to start, he faces her. Because of his size, he dominated her, but without fear, she looked up at him and stand up.
So, without thinking, Alexandre smiled at her.

Under the effect of astonishment, Yiris' gaze softened a few moments before resuming its harshness.

“Go ghost, we advance!” She said authoritatively, brandishing her stick.

OoO

Despite the late hour, the camp of Fanelia's army was still happy.The guests were seated around a small table. Van had left Hitomi, Meinmet, and Alexandre to the care of the military cook.
This one hadn't only prepared a simple snack, he had served them a good meal.
The atmosphere was pleasant, except that a dozen soldiers watched Alexandre, ready to intervene.

While Hitomi tasted each dish with curiosity, Meinmet gorged himself with great enthusiasm, which was not the case of Alexandre.
Visibly uncomfortable, he had just drank a little water and ate a small piece of bread.

Nearby, duels between the soldiers toook place. Before each match, bets were taken and each fighter was fiercely supported until he finished acclaimed in case of victory or whistled in case of defeat.
Suddenly, the clamors grew louder. Constantin advanced in the middle of the field.

Clearly drunk now, he solemnly declaimed:

“Madam, and yes, today, I can say it. He announced, amused, like the assembly. And gentlemen, we are going to end this little party with a special rare fight!
Indeed, the opponents who will compete in front of you are among the greatest fighters of Gaea. Thus, each time, the victory is in extremis for the one who triumphs ...
Here, then, to conclude this campaign, which was too quiet, a real fight! Comrades, and Madam! He said with a wink to Hitomi who destabilized her. here is His Majesty, Van Fanel, our beloved Sovereign against my terrible sister, General of the Tusk Army, Yiris Aryenciapolos, chief of the tribe of the mountains of Irini!”

The crowd shouted encouragement for each participant. The guests were surprised by this incredible fervor.

“A woman general! Meinmet remarked. Well, it has changed here! It must be said that to the small scarred seems to be strong ... But still ... That said, I cannot wait to see what she can do in fight!”

Hitomi looked to her right and Van appeared, shirtless, with a simple sword in his hand. Once again, she was surprised to see how he had changed.
Certainly, he was far from being among the greatest but his muscular and slender figure imposed respect, nothing to do with the fragile teenager she had known.

In front of him, stood Yiris, also free of her heavy armor but still holding firmly her stick.
Her figure was, after all, very feminine with rather plump curves.

Although very muscular, she was quite small which didn't prevent her to release a strong aura.

She was dressed in short black pants and a red tunic with crossed neckline, the vast majority of which was covered with a dark corset. Her bare arms were as scarred as her face.

Details that surprise Hitomi: at her feet, simple little ballerinas that resembled hers and, as a funny trace of feminine coquetry, a thick belt of colored fabric.

“Well,” Van saidto his opponent “I suppose we are still fighting sword against stick. We don't change ... The public may be disappointed!”
“Your Majesty knows that if she defies me with a stick, I would win too easily!” Yiris joked. “And here, the soldiers would be really frustrated!”
“You could just hold a sword!” The King noticed with a smile.
“Certainly, My Lord, but you know, my little hands, which remain those of a woman, prefer my old stick.”

After this small exchange, the two fighters showed wide smiles before setting themselves in fighting position.

It was fast. First, they ran towards each other. Van rushed his sword aside as Yiris jumped on him.
Bringing his blade before him, the young man stopped the stick with force.

Everyone retreated several steps after the violence of the shock, the audience applauded. Meinmet commented on Yiris' skill with enthusiasm, Hitomi was surprised, while Alexandre was captivated by the scene.

The fight continued with many skirmishes. The attacks were fast and sometimes acrobatic. It was not uncommon for shots to be exchanged aloft.
After several minutes, Van managed to drop Yiris down.

At the time he thought he had won, the young woman reared up violently in a gesture of almost inhuman flexibility and made him fall on her, before rolling to one side and getting up from a bound.
Incredibly vivacious, she yoked the young King with her stick on his throat and one foot pressing on the lower abdomen.

“If your Majesty had the kindness to confess his defeat, jI would not have to risk depriving the Kingdom of an heir if, unfortunately, my foot would sliding!” Yiris asked in a mocking tone.

Although disappointed to have lost, Van smiled and knocked three hits on the ground with his hand signing his defeat.
Yiris immediately helped him to get up and they were both acclaimed.

Then a soldier brought a shirt to the King. Hitomi was amused. The garment was red, closed with a white ribbon, as in the past.

Then, the Sovereign came to see his guests and offered to rest and refresh themselves in a tent prepared for the occasion because, tomorrow, at sunrise, the troops would leave to return to Fanelia.

Before leaving, Van gave Hitomi a look full of tenderness, she answered with a slight embarrassed smile.

OoO

Wanting to take a bath after his traveling companions, Alexandre could only see that there was no more hot water in the jugs. If Hitomi had washed away quickly, he suspected Meinmet of taking advantage of the situation. He went back to the main room with spite ...

“You should ask the guards.” The old man suggested. “They could bring you another jug!”

Alexander didn't say anything, but sometimes he felt a great desire to tell his traveling companion how annoying he was.

Sighing, he went to the entrance of the tent. Pushing back the large canvas that served as a door, he said to one of the guards.

“Excuse me, could I have a pitcher of hot water please? I would have liked to take a bath but, unfortunately, my companions have finished our stocks.”
“It's not that I don't want to,” the soldier explained, uncomfortable, “but, all the furnaces where the jugs are placed to heat them have been dismantled.”
“It doesn't matter...” The young man replied, ready to go back inside.
“Wait, I know a place where the oven hasn't been dismantled yet...” Another guard dared to say biting his lower lip. “However, I warn you, it's not me who will ask!”
“What do you mean?” Alexandre asked, perplexed.
“Ben, it's the tent of Constantin. And, with all respect due to him as the King's bodyguard, most of us don't want to deal with him. He's ... how to say ... crazy ...”

The other soldiers agreed with their colleague's remark. More out of curiosity than out of desire to wash, Alexandre asked them to take him to the tent of fear.

It was on an edge of the camp, near the lake. Smoke escaping from the small camp chimney showed that the oven was still working.

The guards who were escorting Alexandre stopped a few steps before Constantin's residence

The young man was even more intrigued by their attitude. He then went to the canvas door and began to explain.

“Sorry to disturb you. I'm Alexander, the one your sister has put down. I was told that you had an oven to heat a pitcher of water. If so, please could you provide me one?”
“Come in!” The man answered from his tent.

Alexandre pushed the curtain and was confronted with an unusual vision. In a large barrel of wood stood Constantine and his sister, face to face, each one legs out of the water.

“Excuse me, I must have misunderstood.” He said, embarrassed, turning around to go out.
“Oh, that's fine!” Yiris replied. “Don't imagine strange things, Mister Ghost, it's only my little brother! I changed his diapers, so sharing his bath, it's not surprising!”

While talking, she was out of the barrel, without any concern for decency. Just before politely look away, Alexander saw that she had as many injuries as you could imagine on a big veteran, strange for someone who seemed to be about thirty years old, moreover a woman.

Always naked, she put a hot jug to the handle protected by a cloth to her visitor.

“And above all, do not burn yourself!”

Leaning over, the young man's eyes met the general's, and she gave him a wicked wink.

Alexandre came out of the tent, he didn't understand anything ...

Chapter Text

Their last dream

Fanfiction by Andromeda Mavros
http://www.hananokaze.org

Rating / Classement [+18]

First published in French on October 14th 2011
First published in English on February 22th 2013

Chapter 5

Exceptional guests

 

Disclaimer: The universe of The Vision Of Escaflowne belongs to Shoji Kawamori and the studio Sunrise, I'm just borrowing it for this story.
Except for a few characters and places that I created for the occasion.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

 

The return trip was long. Hitomi, Meinmet and Alexandre were installed on horses, whose reins were held by a soldier who walked before them.
On the front of the convoy, Van was talking with Yiris and some others servicemen, probably important officers.

Alongside guests, Constantin rode alone. He didn’t speak and was content just to make a mocking smile to Alexandre soon as their eyes met.

Several hours away after, as the sun began to decline, the group finally arrived to Fanelia.
The city was such that in the memories of Hitomi. The royal castle hill overlooked the town built in a rocky area which access was protected by a heavy wall.

Meinmet was very moved to see again this place. He detailed the city, focusing on the changes, but above all, he didn’t hide his joy to finally return back home.

After crossing the town under the acclamations of the people, the troops finally reached the palace esplanade.
Hitomi didn’t have the time to dismount that a scream made her turn.

“Hitomi!”

She saw running towards her a young cat-woman with long pink hair. No doubt, it was Merle. However, she had grown up but was still easily recognizable!!

The two friends held in each other's arms before going to cry for joy to meet again after so many years.

“I swear to you, Hitomi, when I received the message from Lord Van this morning, I couldn’t believe it. You will see, I followed his orders carefully, you will have a comfortable apartment! I collected a lot of clothes, the most beautiful of the city, you can choose what you like! You will also have a nice room and lots of servants. You ask, you get everything you want quickly!”

The guest didn’t have time to answer that Merle led her inside, leaving Meinmet hilarious and Alexandre always incredulous. He couldn’t believe he had seen a cat-woman!

After this strange scene, the two men dismounted. Alexandre looked around. The feeling of being in a familiar place he had since his arrival on Gaea grew stronger and stronger.
Nevertheless, things were still unclear, no picture, just some sensations.

Servants approached them and bowed to Meinmet before invited him, with Alexandre, to follow them in order to have a light meal.

OoO

Warmth reigned in the room, Hitomi, who had always loved taking baths, was overjoyed.
Perfumed essences invading the atmosphere, she had a small pillow to put her head... It was far from the rudimentary comfort of the archaic barrel in the camp the previous day.

Around her, ten servants were busy, under the orders of Merle. All were very nice and relaxed, away from the fixed ladies of Asturia who Hitomi had deal with ten years ago.
Everything took place in a friendly atmosphere with laughs and heckling, the servants asked many questions to Hitomi about the Moon of Illusions.
Merle, for her part, led her troupe with efficiency under the amused eyes of her guest who was savoring a cup of tea and some fresh fruit, while relaxing after her hours of travel on horseback, in hot water.

“Well, now, Hitomi, Merle announced her hands firmly on her hips, we're going to get serious: we'll have to find something in order to dress yourself! I warn you, you have the choice! It was difficult in a few hours but I could find you some fifty different dresses that you could wear.”
“Fifty dresses? For me?”
“Well, as that, you will find necessarily something you will enjoy! Finally, in the immediate future, it will be nightdress but I look forward tomorrow! Lord Van was very strict on this point, you should be treated like a Queen!”

A Queen ... Hitomi felt a little confused with that word. Since their reunion, she hadn’t have a conversation with Van, too busy with managing the affairs of the country.
But, after to the warmth of his embrace and his words, she realized he looked forward her return. How to tell him she was there against her will?

The defile of clothes changed the ideas to the young woman. She saw presented before her multiple outfits, all following the same pattern, typical of Fanelia: a dress with, above, a breasted jacket retained by a huge belt tied in front.

Merle herself was clothed in this style. Her yellow dress, which was very short, appeared under her black top tight at the waist by a pink and black belt.
Looking at her more attentively, Hitomi smiled seeing that the young cat-woman had always her old nail file pendant around the neck...
Finally, after a first selection, Hitomi chose, for the following day, a dress composed of a white top covered with fine embroidery of green leaves with a soft green breasted jacket and tied with a striped belt of colors alternating white and gold.

As soon as she announced her decision to came out of the water and, there, the domestics hastened to help her put on a bathrobe before showing her a small screen behind which she could get dressed.

White pantie and a brassiere that closed on the side with a cord laced, a mid-calf yellow dress, with, upper, a small matching jacket tied with a ribbon at the chest, small slippers soft and lightweight, the night clothes were comfortable. Hitomi enjoyed.

Servants had left and Merle remained alone in the room. When she saw Hitomi reappear, she smiled:

“You'll see, here, it's not like Asturia, we are more simple in the way we live! The only one who really following the protocol is the grand chamberlain Ozlek. The poor, we don’t blame him, it's been generations his family is dedicated to this task!
Come eat a little and see your room! Well, you'll have guessed, this room is your personal bathroom but you also have a small reception room and, finally, the bedroom!”
“So, this is great ... All that for me ...” Hitomi noticed, totally surprised.
“I've already said, Lord Van ordered, we do what he asks! And know also that all the ladies who you saw are at your service! At any time, you ask, they will come!”

Faced with this, the young woman remained silent. She followed Merle.

To the bathroom with walls white, covered with frescoes of flowers, succeeded a lounge with the same colors, with a table, chairs and some woven straw armchairs covered with flowered cushions.
At last, the room consisted of a large bed surmounted by a canopy of tulle. Again, the decoration was flowered and light.

In this room, after detailing the place, Hitomi was completely dazzled. Merle came near her.

“When we rebuilt the castle, Lord Van insisted that the builders plan an apartment for you, when you will be back.”
“When I will be back? Hitomi sighed, perplexed.

Hearing her, the young cat-woman suddenly look more serious, almost sad. She walked up to the bedroom window overlooking the courtyard and sat down on the ledge.

“Lord Van is amazing ... Never, he never doubted that you would come back to him. He knew that you had resented with the war, you wanted to see your family again ... But he was told to himself that over time, you will find the strength to return here. He rejected the contrary idea.
For two years, the situation became very tense. Indeed, Van is the last of the line, he has no family. If it would happen misfortune to him, the country will no longer have Sovereign and there will be chaos. After the war, before Lord Van made again things under control, the leaders of vassal tribes began to quarrel each other ... Without King as Overlord, it would be a massacre ...
This is why, now, the main occupation of the two old generals and the member of the religious order is talking, without stopping, to Lord Van, about a list of potential wives and people's passion is betting on it ...
Letting through his feelings for you before the interest of his country, Lord Van cut short at any negotiation. Even me, I have admonished him, not only because he put his people in danger, but in addition, he refused himself the right to happiness ...”

Listening to this speech, Hitomi sat on the edge of the bed. Discreetly, she wiped away a tear that had flowed down her cheek. This love that Van vowed to her was so strong, too strong... At this moment she realized she had grossly underestimated him ten years ago.

Merle approached her, crouched down and put her hands on hers, which were on her knees.

“Hitomi, I have only one thing to ask you: don’t break his heart! Since I know him, Lord Van has lost his loved ones: his mother, his brother, Balgus and then you ... I am the only person who still remained by his side. Nobody knows him better than me. This is a great warrior, a good administrator and he knows how to reconcile tribal leaders but, for the rest, he’s always the child alone who had missed the affection of a family.
I know that today, he would just have his own family, but he can’t imagine building it without you.
Also, I'm not stupid, I have the sixth sense of felines. I feel that you are not voluntarily returned here and, at the moment I’m speaking, you only want one thing: go home... However, for Lord Van, I beg you to stay!
Know that here you will be the most beloved wife of Gaea. You will have everything you can wish and, you will see, our country is beautiful and there are lots of friendly people. I don’t know how is your world but you can see that Fanelia is also a great place! And, most importantly, you will have all the love of Lord Van. I’m sure that, on the Moon of Illusions, no man could feel so much love for you”

The young cat-woman had sais these words with her whole conviction, she was in tears. Her sincerity touched deeply Hitomi who strove to answer.

“Listen, I can’t promise you anything. I understand what you say ... I'll think about it. ..”

With a small touched, Merle looked up at her friend.

“Thank you! I'll let you rest! Good night!”
“Good night to you too!”

Hitomi heard the door of her apartment close behind Merle before let herself fall on her bed. She dreaded to be alone with Van but doubted that it would not delay.
How the confrontation will take place?

A moment, she stood looking out the window the city, which gradually fell asleep, before deciding to stretch out.
Fortunately, the fatigue of the travel of the day quickly immersed her into a deep sleep.

OoO

“This isn’t good, it's delicious! But what a pleasure to sip these piscus and eat these blue apples, how much it had missed me!”

Sitting around a coffee table surrounded by large cushions, Meinmet ate for hours to make his stomach explode under the stunned eyes of the servants and Alexandre who had until then only swallowed a few grains of a strange pink grape.

Suddenly, an old man, wearing a beret and a strange red jacket embroidered with gold, approached the two men.

“Your Highness Prince Meinmet, Sir Alexandre, let me introduce myself, I am the grand chamberlain Ozlek.
His Majesty has requested that apartments are prepared for you. However, we were not able to complete all on this one day, so, for tonight, you will occupy a suite reserved for distinguished visitors. Please follow me.”

Enthusiastic about going digest his enormous meal in a cozy bed, Meinmet followed the chamberlain through the corridors. Alexandre was behind.

In fact, since his arrival at the palace, he was always flanked by a group of ten soldiers.

Many men just to keep an eye on one ... He wondered what it will happen in the future. ..

In any case, even if the guards remained stationed at each window of the apartment he shared with Meinmet, he could take a bath and enjoy clean clothes.
Finally, he was lying, staring at the ceiling, on a comfortable bed as he heard his companion snoring from the next room.

A strange feeling overcame him. He heard as whispers in his head ... They were incomprehensible, like the blurred images that appear when he closed his eyes.

It was said of him that he looked like a dead man ... In general, people didn’t appreciate what they were not able to understand. The hostility that the King showed to him didn’t foretell anything good.

OoO

It was dark for a long time. Lying on the blue tiles of one of the roofs of the palace, Yiris watched at the Moon of Illusions, looking annoyed.
Suddenly, a man's voice soft and calm was heard. The one who sat down beside her was a man in his thirties.

His long brown hair was matted. His eyes, green and almond-shaped, and his elongated features gave him a serene and attractive expression, according with his tall and muscular body.

His simple outfit, dark gray trousers, a white tied shirt and a light gray jacket, highlighted him.

“Hello Yiris! I'm sorry to be late. I spent the evening to inspect the horses of the convoy. I believe that nobody wants to take responsibility for some unfortunate equines of the Tusk army!”
“And tell your wife to leave you alone …” She answered, cynic.
“Surprisingly, it was the easiest … It’s rather distribute the work among the grooms, who has occupied me since a certain person had evaporated ...”
“Who are you referring to?”
“Oh, I know your army … It’s not for nothing that it was nicknamed the "gang of broken arms” ...”
“This is not because my men are not conventional that they are not competent!”
“Certainly! But they are lazy ...”
“Hylden, general of the Claw army, slanders my troops! I’m offended! And I'm sure your father, General Yurizen, would be too if he was still alive!”

The young man smiled and handed her a bottle.

“Stop grumbling and drink some beer!”
“And that’s a doctor, son of a doctor, who said that!” Yiris noticed before stand up tu take a swallow.
“A little alcohol doesn’t kill! The important thing is to know whether moderate ... Finally ...”
“Don’t worry… Tomorrow, I will set Yrkas on the straight and narrow again, reminding him that he must stop saving his forces... That said, I bet that instead of count the horses, he prefered directly go to see the whores when he arrived!”
“Hypothesis almost certain!”

Both laughed and took a swig of beer each, but very soon, the mood sank.
Hylden continued the conversation.

“I glimpsed the famous guy that everyone is talking about. When I saw him, the problem was obvious to me ... Do you want talk about it?”
“To be quite honest, I don’t know what to think ... His Majesty only said he would consider this night the case of the famous Alexandre and we'll talk about tomorrow at the Council ...”
“You must have had a shock ...”

With these words, the young man's gaze lingered on a sword scabbard that Yiris had laid belong her. Then his green eyes froze in those colorful of his interlocutor.
Her concern was visible. She held her fingers clenched on her stick. He moved his hand to her and tried to caress her face, she evaded.

“You know that it is not possible ...”

OoO

The next morning, Hitomi was awakened by noises coming from outside. Quietly she got up to go out the window.
On the esplanade of the palace, people were busy. She saw carts being charged and discharged, soldiers were training, children playing, people talking ...

Suddenly a head appeared across.

“Meow!”

Surprised Hitomi jumped and walked a few steps back. Satisfied of her effect, Merle stepped over the edge and entered into the room.

“This doesn’t remember you about something?”
“And how! Our first meeting, when you had searched in my bag before taking my pendant and get away in the corridors of the palace!”
"Indeed! It was a long time ago ... Otherwise, you slept well?”
"Yes, thank you!”
"Perfect! So we can begin!”

A clapping of the young cat-woman and servants came to serve breakfast. A cup of tea, some biscuits and cakes, a kind of jam, Hitomi was spoiled for choice.

Once satiated, she went to freshen her face before being caught in a veritable whirlwind intended to dress her. When finally the swarm stopped gravitate around her, they brought her a mirror in order to she can see herself.
Appreciating the result, she turned and made her dress twirl, Merle went behind her and tied her hair with a matching ribbon.

“Hitomi, you're beautiful! It changes of the old uniform you were wearing all the time!”

With a smile, the young woman continued to enjoy her reflection. It was really the first time in her life she was so elegant.

“You'll wear out this mirror by dint of watching you there! Come on, I'll take you witch a little walk to discover the place!”

OoO

Meinmet had slept well. Home, he was just happy. However, contrary to his habit, he woke up early. Unable to return to sleep, he asked a servant to bring him to the grave of his brother.
There, he had spoken at length imagining his twin listening to him with a smile. Finally, he had been moved to tears, regretting that life has deprived him of happiness to hold Goau in his arms and drink with him at their reunion.

After a moment, he decided to return to the palace ... The call of the stomach shouts famine ...

There, he found Alexandre, now dressed in the typical way Fanelia: beige canvas trousers, dark shirt topped with a knotted white breasted jacket dark green closed with a red and black striped ribbon, on his feet, simple brown leather boots.

Looking always melancholic, he drank tea against a wall, watching what was happening outside. On entering the room, the old Prince gave him an amused look.

“So sleep well? You look like a real local guy now!”
“If you say! Finally, I had been able to sleep, it's already well ...”
“Come on, try to be a little more cheerful... I doubt that the surveillance should not be easy to support, but already see the good side of things, you're not in a dungeon! Far from it!”
“Nonetheless, my place is uncomfortable ... Apparently, according to the servants told me, my fate will be discussed this morning ...”
“Remains confident! You know I will not let you down and Hitomi neither!”

While continuing the discussion, Meinmet went dress. For the day, he chose brown pants, a beige shirt and over a big red coat open with a few yellow geometric embroideries.
To walk, his choice fell on simple sandals. After all, on Earth, he favored flip-flops!

OoO

A few later, Hitomi, Alexandre and Meinmet met again on the ground floor of the palace. Merle told them the morning program: it would be a visit to the palace and the city.
In fact, Van and his generals would soon begin their Council meeting so, meanwhile, the Sovereign had asked his friend to ensure that his guests can enjoy themselves.
Hitomi and Meinmet showed themselves very enthusiastic to this idea.

So, happy that her initiative was successful, Merle asked them to follow her to the esplanade to start the walk.
Already, she spoke of the innovations in the palace: better arrangement, inventions such as lifts and running water ...
Also, the young cat-woman explained that the city had been rebuilt too. Buildings were less condensed, leaving the streets wider and numerous squares with fountains and trees gave it a bucolic side.

Still the last, Alexandre met Yiris in a corridor. They watched each other and when the young man looked up, he was facing a mirror.

But, the reflection he saw was not his. The person appeared older, paler, his hair was gray-green and his eyes had a strange pinkish shade.

Noticing his confusion, Yiris turned and was herself astounded by the illusion ...

After a few seconds, this one vanished, leaving them unable to say anything.

Chapter Text

Their last dream

Fanfiction by Andromeda Mavros
http://www.hananokaze.org

Rating / Classement [+18]

First published in French on October 25th 2011
First published in English on March 5th 2013

Chapter 6

Shameful secrets

 

Disclaimer: The universe of The Vision Of Escaflowne belongs to Shoji Kawamori and the studio Sunrise, I'm just borrowing it for this story.
Except for a few characters and places that I created for the occasion.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

 

The room was quite dark, a guard at each exit, even in front of windows. The Council Chamber of Fanelia was intended to be highly solemn.

Van was at the end of table. Behind him, a huge coat of arms was carved on the wall. The young man was wearing beige pants, gray shirt and a violet jacket closed at side by the traditional golden striped belt.

On his left, was seating Luyren, an old general who looked serious. His hair was cut short and strict, as well as his beard.
All went well with his small glasses, which betrayed visual acuity lost with age. He wore a beige tunic, maintained by a traditional striped belt alternating green and gold.
He was the doyen of the generals. He had inherited the responsibility after the death of his elder brother, Asona, during the attack of Fanelia by Zaibach.

Beside him, there was the general of the Skull army, newly created after the Great War of Gaea to better represent some tribes who had defended the country's borders during this difficult time.
And his somewhat graying beard collar, Mayek, whose stature impressed more than one, had everything of the veteran proud of his long career.

Faced with these two elders, stood on the right of the Sovereign, Yiris and Hylden. The latter was the youngest of the group of soldiers. He had recovered the patronage of the Claw army from of his father, Yurizen, who also died in the destruction of the city, there were more than ten years ago.
Everyone found him a great resemblance to his father when he was young. Moreover, to complete the filiation, the son had studied medicine too.

While the subject should have been the review of the campaign led by Van and Yiris, the discussion tackled directly the case of Alexandre.

“Your Majesty,” Mayek began with firmness, “this man would only be a creation of our enemies, maybe surviving sorcerers of Zaibach! Don’t forget that the bodies of two of the leaders were never found.”
“It’s not wrong,” Luyren said with a calmer tone, “that the resemblance of this man with your deceased brother, the Prince Folken, incites to mistrust. I suggest to continue to keep him under close surveillance and interrogate him to know what he could hid... If he hides something…”

His arms crossed, the young King listened to the speech of his men. Even after a night of thought, he still didn’t know what to think about this man.

Since he had met him, he saw his brother constantly through him. It was not only the appeance, Alexandre had undoubtedly attitudes that reminded Folken before he joined Dornkirk.

Indeed, the young man had a charming smile, elegant gestures and softly and calm voice. These elements characterize perfectly Folken of the time, before having to accomplish the ritual of the dragon hunt, he was the one who made fall down all the girls of Fanelia with a glance.

Seeing his Sovereign silent, Mayek allowed himself to persist.

“Your Majesty, what do you want to do?”

Van looked up and spoke to Hylden.

“What do you think?”
“To be quite honest, Your Majesty,” the young man answered with his soft and singing voice, “I don’t know what to say. Of course, the resemblance to the Prince Folken requires us to be prudent but is it reasonable to condemn a man on the simple fact of his appearance?”
“You're a dreamer, my poor boy!” Mayek replied. “We can’t ignore the threat! I have led many clashes with my tribe and the enemy may be even more insidious than anything you can imagine!”
“In this case,” Hylden continued, “I don’t think the most subtle was to take this appearance that can’t be ignored if we actually have an enemy in front of us.”
“On this point, he isn't wrong!.” Luyren noticed, amused. “Since this man came, we became even more vigilant against anything that might be suspect.”
“Well, you're not going to preach to wait, Hylden!” The graying general said, angry.
“Yiris, your opinion?” Van interrupted.

Remembering what had happened a few moments earlier with the mirror, the young woman leaned her head back with a sigh before rising on her chair, putting her fists on the table.

“II agree with Hylden, although I can’t refrain from be wary of this Alexandre. That said, for the moment, his only crime is, in fact, is his resemblance with Folken…”
“Hylden and Yiris share the same opinion, I'm not even surprised!” Mayek noticed disdainfully. “We see that you lack experience of the war and the enemy.”

Yiris’s face darkens. She launched a dark look at her interlocutor.

“You know what I did to my predecessor at Irini, so you have to doubt what I’m capable!”

A little disturbed, Mayek don't respond. He resigned himself, understanding that his opinion wasn't the majority one.

“Well!” Van said. “Exceptional circumstances require exceptional measures. Yiris, knowing your fighting skills in close combat and your agility, I entrust you the supervision of Alexandre. You will remain always with an eye on him and if you cannot take him with you, make sure that a good ten experienced soldiers are watching on him.”

The announcement of the decision provoked little mocking laughs from other generals, particularly Mayek. Yiris, thunderstruck, tried to protest.

“But, Your Majesty, anyway, I'm not a sentry!”
“Right, but you're an efficient bodyguard, therefore I take this skill! You must preserve the life of this man at any cost as long as I don’t give you the opposite order.”

Feeling that any claim would be vain, the young woman felt back in her chair, under the amused glances of her confreres...
And saying that in less than an hour, all the city would be aware... The next few days would be especially unpleasant!

Finally, the Sovereign stood up, the generals immediately did the same.

"Well, the agenda is closed, I'm leaving” He said with a smile "I want to go visit someone!”

OoO

After the long walk, Hitomi was returned to her room. Sitting on an armchair, she leafed through a few books she had found on a shelf.

Even if she didn't understand the texts, she took pleasure in admiring the engravings. Throughout the pages, she was sometimes amused to recognize familiar things, such as flying machines, or where she went, as the temple of Fortona in Freid.

Suddenly, Van appeared at the door of the room. Hitomi, surprised, hurriedly closed her book.

“Well, you're scared of me now?”

Van sat down in front of the young woman, giving her a smile full of tenderness. Hitomi couldn’t refrain from smile at him in return.

“I hope you like to be here. I made prepared this apartment randomly not knowing your tastes. Merle had told me that it was very well like that, I hope she wasn’t wrong!”
“It's beautiful!” Hitomi answered timidly. “Thank you!”
“I owe you that!” Van said, amused. “The first time, I was a poor host... But, now, I want everything to be perfect!”

“Perfect”, this last word troubled the young woman. And she was more face of evident affection that Van showed her ... Disturbed, she remained silent while he stared at her.

“I'm sorry for not being able to come to see you soon. I was retained by an important case ...” He explained.

Slowly, he leaned toward her. He wanted to touch her and was completely unable to refrain himself. The attraction was too strong.
Hitomi became tense by feeling his hand on her cheek.

“You, anyway, you're beautiful!” He whispered in a glance charmed.

At this moment, Hitomi wasn't afraid but felt a deep malaise. He never had behaved in this way with her, his attitude totally surprised her.
He became enterprising, calm, seductive... Far from the impulsive and unstable adolescent she had known.
Lost, the young woman tried to raise her eyes in order to not hurt him.
But feeling that he became much more audacious, dying to go further, she stiffened instantly.
She turned her head abruptly, stood up quickly and went away from Van, totally stunned by her attitude.

“You have a problem, Hitomi?”

She had no choice, he had to push back him. Her heart sank while pain memories of her first trip to Gaea returning to torment her.
Her mind kept going over in loop this months of suffering, all ordeals she underwent...

The young woman remained tense, unapproachable. She persisted in looking at the ground, biting her lip under the effect of the intense anxiety which invaded her.

Van wanted to approach her but Hitomi had again a violent gesture back.

“Hitomi! Tell me what's wrong ...”

The King came down to earth with a deep shook. He would never have imagined such a reaction from the young woman.
He strived to approach her despite many rejections she showed him. The reluctance of Hitomi amplified his desire to catch her.

Now leaning against a wall, she had no choice ...

So she took a deep breath and looked up at Van, imposing. Trembling of her whole being, she confessed:

“I’m sorry …”
“Why?” The young man asked, worried.
“Merle explained everything to me, I'm really sorry, but ... I didn’t want to come back ...
I wanted to help Meinmet, that's all. I was trapped in a pillar of light despite myself ...”

The look of Van darkens instantly. Under the tearing of these words, he turned his head sharply.

“So you didn’t want to see me again, right?”

A long silence filled the room. Hitomi felt the air become heavy, almost suffocating.

After a few endless minutes, Van turned around and stared straight into her eyes. His gaze was so overwhelming that the young woman felt her blood run cold with fright!

“Damn it! But what I've done? What are you afraid of? Me?
Okay, when we met, I was awkward, sometimes aggressive, but I've changed!
We felt in love but I see now that if at a moment, you were ready to marry Allen, after all we had been passed through together, you were afraid to live with me.
I'm sure the nostalgia of your world and the trauma of all these ordeals kept you distant from me. However, I hope that over time it would all finally behind us and we could considering a serene future, together.
When you left, I didn’t try to detain you by force, hoping that, one day, you come back to me, calm and confident...
Many , I tried to contact you ... in vain … I didn’t want to insist, I thought that you would take time ... I realize that I clouded the issue ... I hoped you would come back so I contented myself with my role as King, because the man I had become could never love another woman that you …
Imagine having waited so long ... for nothing ... no ... it's killing me ...”

Driven to desper, Hitomi tried to recover her mind.

“Van, I loved you as I could never love.”

The past… She spoke to the past... The young man felt a violent stab in his chest. His expression became icy.
Despite an obvious uneasiness, Hitomi was able to continue:

“But here, this is not my home, my life is on the Moon of Illusions. There, my life is very different. I'm an ordinary person, I have a quiet life. During all these years, I have dedicated myself to my studies, hoping, yes, I confess, one day meet someone who can make me forget your memory ...”

This was too much!

To him who had never thought about this possibility, hear these words tore him.
Anger rose. He tried as best he could to control for not falling into madness.

“Yes, I want to lead a normal life, working, having a simple family ...” She said.

Van heaved a deep sigh of annoyance, holding on to explode.

“At this point? Yes, I understand that you were traumatized. The war hadn’t spared you ... I can also understand that it’s difficult to imagine separate you from your family. On my own, I have only Merle ...
But the rest, no, it’s beyond my comprehension!”

Van was submerged by rage. He knocked his fist violently against a wall. A terrible thrill passed through Hitomi. Once again, a heavy silence reigned.

The young woman took her breath with difficulty and replied:

“Van, I don’t like Gaea! It’s not my world! I don’t want to be a Queen! Yes, I’m treated very well but it’s not my place!”

Enraged, Van jostled the little table, propelling it to the ground, before rushing to Hitomi with a determined step.

This one, still leaning against the wall, was petrified. Van violently put his hands on either side of her face and leaned toward her.

“And if I could leave everything, you would love me again?”

She remained stunned.

He was there in front of her, furious, but, in the meantime, lost. Hitomi never thought that he would have continued to think about her, to love her...
The tension was palpable and the air became increasingly oppressive.

“Hitomi, if it depended only on me, if I didn’t have the responsibility of thousands of people, I will let all, there, right now, to follow you on the Moon of Illusions!”

She saw in his eyes a so intense contrast, an improbable mix of anger and resignation.
He was able to do what she has never had the courage to do: leave everything for love...

Then, Hitomi felt a strong pain shake her chest. She was bending under a terribly damning feeling: guiltness.
At the edge of malaise, she remained unable to speak or move.

Disappointed by her absence, Van was about to leave the room.

Feeling him going away, she returned hurriedly to reality

“Van, please wait!”

The young man stopped but didn’t turn around.

As if her legs gave way beneath her, Hitomi let herself slide against the wall and crouched down, in tears.

Van tilted his head back and sighed. Taking upon himself and stifling his resentment, he slowly approached her.

“Hitomi, can I ask you a favor?”

The young woman looked up, disconcerted.

“What?” She whispered between sobs.
“During the next few days, I want to focus on the investigation about this mysterious Alexandre. You have known my brother, you can maybe help me.
Also, I want to ask you to stay here some time, without obligation, just to see if you really cannot be happy here.”

A little reassured by the calm he suddenly showed, Hitomi came to her senses and listened him continuing.

“If after this period you wish to go back home will still there, I would accept ... I would use my drag-energist to help you return to the Moon of Illusions and we will continue our lives away forever...”

At this time, the heart of the young woman raced. Multiple conflicting thoughts jostled in her head, she didn't know where she was.

“Okay...” She replied.

Handing out her arms, Van helped her stand up and regain her equilibrium. She noticed in his eyes a great sadness.

Then he went back to the exit and on the doorstep, he added:

“Hitomi … Know that if you choose to stay, I promise you to make you the happiest woman ever. There wouldn’t be more loved either on Gaea or on the Moon of Illusions.”

Through a veil of tears, Hitomi saw him go away. Then, she held out her hand, murmuring his name almost inaudible, as the door closed behind him.

OoO

Meinmet enthusiastically discovered the apartment that was reserved for him. Located on the second floor of the main building which had three, it was light and airy.
Through, he enabled the old man to see what was happening everywhere, putting his inquisitive nature blissfully happy.

Alexandre looked at him rhapsodized when suddenly he received a blow of a stick on his shoulder.

“Go! Follow me!”

It was Yiris, visibly furious. Faced with this hostility shown, Alexandre was worried about what will happen to him. Intrigued, Meinmet came to question the unexpected visitor:

“And where are you taking him?
“In his own apartments! Don’t worry, I will give you him back you for lunch!”

The purpose was so cold that the old Prince didn’t dare add nothing, sending just a small sign of encouragement to his protege who left the room.

Hurry, Yiris went to the elevator and motioned to Alexandre to enter. The young man saw that the small platform was crowded with luggage and a camp bed.

“To the third!” The general shouted.
“Let’s go!” A voice from the ground replied.

Face to the astonishment of Alexandre, Yiris felt obliged to explain.

“You have only taken the steps until now, isn’t it? When the palace was rebuilt, His Majesty has seen fit to endow it with lifts seen that there still three floors. To actuate it, mole-men turn the cranks. They live in the basement of the palace, in a shade and cool place, and are paid handsomely to relay each other on different machines.
“Mole-men? The young man asked, sceptical.
“Yes, you've seen Merle, the cat-woman, right? On Gaea, there are many races of animals-men : wolves, cats, moles, birds, fishes ... Gaea is a sort of fantastic bestiary.”
“You speak as if it was not usual for you ...” Alexandre dared.

The elevator stopped and Yiris started out with her camp bed and bag. The young man wanted to offer his help. However, the hostile look she gave him dissuaded him.

She walked to the end of the corridor and opened a door.

This room was overlooking a rather light. On the right, an empty library was in the angle with a small round table and, stood on the left, there was a fireplace.
The place was lit by a large window, near the hearth.

Advancing into the room, Alexandre noticed the presence of a room which access was facing the fireplace.

The place itself had also a hearth and, as furniture, just a bed, two chairs as a bedside table and a commode on which was put his bag.
At the back of the apartment, he found a bathroom.

Returning to the main room, he saw Yiris going up her cot between the front door and those of the chamber.

“So, she announced, here we are. We will cohabit here! His Majesty has asked that I constantly watch over you, so I moved ... I warn you, I will use the bathtub!”

Alexandre didn’t answer. He continued to browse the place without a word.

When he finally emerged from his thoughts, his gaze lingered on Yiris. This one ended to put her affairs in order and made her bed snoring.

Deep down, he asked himself many questions about the motivation of anger which the general harbored against him. Yiris seemed to have a personal contentious with him, but which one?

OoO

By late afternoon, Hitomi quietly regained her senses. After what had happened in her room, she needed to breathe out.
Alone, she wandered through the gardens, a shawl put over the shoulders to protect her the freshness of dusk.

With wonder, she discovered the places. Many flowerbeds were spread under her eyes and she was pleased to find small kiosks at the turn of paths.

The place was full of peace and serenity, bathed by the silence and caressed by the gentle evening breeze.
All that was far from the turmoil in which she was found few hours before.

Slowly, she felt lighter, as unfettered. She promised to Meinmet to dinner with him and Alexandre but loved to prolong her walk as much as possible.
She knew that the old Prince would look for her sooner or later, so ...

Suddenly, her little bubble of peace broke out. An anxious presence was being felt.

Turning round, she saw Constantin sitting on a railing. Again dressed all in black, his shirt wide open, he always appeared as sneaky.

“Good evening, Miss Hitomi, you stroll?” The young man asked with a petty smile.
“Yes …” She replied warily.
“After all, you aren't so unhappy here. I admit, I love listening at doors ... I must say that being a bodyguard of His Majesty, I necessarily have my ears that lying around close to him. Even if there, I confess, I was fired.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean Master Van treats you well and, anyway, you fell on the right side of the barrier on Gaea, believe me! However …”
“However?”
“So, if it turns out that His Majesty is a good King, I disagree with some of his faults, especially his private life.”
“How so?” Hitomi asked, anxious to discover something that will didn’t please her.
“Well,” Constantin said amused by turning around Hitomi, “it turns out that when I shouted you his love a few hours ago, it's odds on that His Majesty was lying in a position undoubtedly indecent with her little feline favorite. It’s not a secret that they were lovers for several years. And I can tell you that it sickened a lot of people...”

On hearing his words, Hitomi, ulcerated, returned running to the palace.

Looking her leaving, Constantin was very proud of his effect and made up his mind to follow discreetly in order to attend what would happen.

Passing near a tree, he stopped.

“You’re a jerk!” Yiris said, leaning against a trunk.
“I don’t think, big sister. I’m the voice of reason!”
“While I agree that Lord Van and Merle correction should have to admit their little game to this girl, your method makes me want to vomit.”
“And it’s you who say that ...” Constantin sighed. “You, who is a monster who had sold her soul to the devil...”

Yiris faced her brother, arms crossed, they exchanged a look of hate.

“This girl doesn’t have to pay your frustration of being badly fallen on this planet. And concerning what I have done, it’s my ownbusiness, and it engages only me!”

On these words, she turned and was about to return to the building. Constantin looked at her with disgust.

“You, you make me laugh. I know what you are. One day, the others will know too and you will pay. The King is as twisted as you on this point! I wonder why he supports you so that all you deserve is death!”

Annoyed, Yiris sighed and shrugged her shoulders.

“And what prevented you from lay down the law yourself?”

Stung, Constantin didn’t know what to say. Watching his sister going away, his mind filled with memories.
He raised his eyes to the Moon of Illusions and remembered the silhouette of a girl with fair hair wearing a white dress who looked at the landscape from the top of a rock ...

Chapter Text

Their last dream

Fanfiction by Andromeda Mavros
http://www.hananokaze.org

Rating / Classement [+18]

First published in French on November 1st 2011
First published in English on March 25th 2013

Chapter 7

The other exiles

 

Disclaimer: The universe of The Vision Of Escaflowne belongs to Shoji Kawamori and the studio Sunrise, I'm just borrowing it for this story.
Except for a few characters and places that I created for the occasion.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

 

Revolted by the words of Constantin, Hitomi returned to the palace with an angry step. Meeting a servant, she asked him where were the apartments of Van.
The man indicated the first floor but couldn’t add a word, the young woman already climbed the stairs, furiously.

Arrived on the floor, she crossed the main hallway and, pasting her own apartment, noticed, at the end of the corridor, a door guarded by two sentries. She rushed.

“This is the King's room?” Hitomi asked.
“Yes, Miss! One of the soldiers replied. But …”
“Let me in!” She yelled, jostling them.
“Miss, please, wait until to be announced. Miss ...”

Fear of hurting her and thus incurring the wrath of the King, they resigned themselves to let her pass up.
Suddenly opening the door, the young woman went into a hall and shouted.

“Van, it’s true what is said about you and Merle?”

A few seconds later, Van appeared on the threshold of a door, wearing a jacket wide open, looking visibly sleepy. It’s odds on that he was even dozing a moment before.
The sentinels apologized as they could for the brutal intrusion. The Sovereign waved them to go away before speaking to Hitomi.

“What are you talking about?” He asked, a little annoyed by the previous argument.
“Don’t play this game with me! You know what I mean!”

Van turned brutally his gaze and sighed before regaining his senses.

“Merle, left the place, I prefer.”

After several seconds seemed surprisingly long, the young cat-woman appeared behind him, ashamed. She walked around Van and went out of the room running, head down, avoiding the icy stare of the one who was, until then, her friend.

When the door closed, Hitomi's anger exploded.

“So, it's true?” She noticed, indignantly.
“We haven’t been totally honest ...” Van conceded, shaking his head.
“You disgust me! When I think back to your big speech about waiting ...”

Taken of a violent fit of rage, Hitomi approached Van.

“Liar!” She yelled, slapping him with all her strength.

The impact resounded into the room. Van had almost lost his balance under the violence of the gesture.

Then, a silence terribly heavy followed. Hitomi was struggling to recover. Eyes fixed on the ground, she wanted to cry but controlled herself to stay worthy.

For his part, Van had taken the blow, keeping his composure.

“Know now that you're back, Merle remains just to sleep with me as we do since twenty years. There we had dinner and we were soon to ...”
“Stop, that's enough!” Hitomi interrupted angrily. “Don’t start with justifications! Merle is like a sister for you and you're having an affair with her! This is … incest! With the fact that … She is a cat-woman …”

Annoyed, the Sovereign looked at the ceiling. The atmosphere was explosive, it became difficult to control himself.

“Many persons have had the same discourse on my father, human, and my mother, descendant of the people of the Dragon God ... And of what I know, we are far from be the only in this case ...
Concerning our relationship, I understand your trouble, but between Merle and me, I don’t have words to describe what connects us. Yes, she’s as my little sister without being ...”

Listening to him, he seemed almost nonchalant, Hitomi was disconcerted. Such way of thinking defeated her principles and her conception of morality ...

“I don’t understand! How did you come to that?” How did you both come to that …”
“Try to calm down and listen to me!”

Face to the tense and sharp tone he employed, the young woman didn’t reply. For his part, Van sat on the nearest chair.
Trying to stifle his resentment, he breathed deeply, looking for words to explain his actions.

“Hitomi, when we met, I was just fifteen years old. Be realistic, I was a puny boy … I didn’t look my age. But the years have passed, I've changed. I grew up, I became a man, and then I started to feel a lack ... physical which being stronger and stronger ...”

Understanding the allusion, Hitomi became tense, embarrassed.

“In my head, Van continued, it was clear that you will come back, I didn’t want to betray you ... Time passed, you didn’t return, you didn’t answer me ...
Merle has always been with me. Her presence, her support helped me to go on, to fulfill my duties as Sovereign. But more importantly, I had someone considerate to confide myself.
Merle also grew ... See a woman so close to me, overflowing with affection to me... I had fallen in this trap without being able to stop this ... But that is the past”

After a brief pause, he concludes:

“Hitomi, the only thing I can swear to you, is that it’s finished!”

The person concerned doesn’t respond as absent. Too many conflicting emotions jostled in her mind.

Giving him a last look, empty, she walked away in silence and left the room.

Once alone, Van dropped his head in his hands. The last seven years were caught him up.

OoO

The next day, Fanelia was in turmoil, the rumor of the incident of the previous day had spread like wildfire into the palace, then the rest of the city.
Even if nobody really knew what had happened, everyone have is opinion, raising craziest rumors...

Since her explanation with Van, Hitomi obstinately refused to leave her room and talk to anyone.
This situation worried Meinmet and Alexandre.

In the morning, the two men had a good time trying to convince the young woman to open the door, in vain.
Hitomi stood herself ground and had seemed them politely, but curtly, through the door.

Since couldn’t do more, the two men decided to take their lunch, under the surveillance of Yiris, standing, leaning on a wall a little behind

Curious by nature and perplexed by the behavior of Hitomi, Meinmet remained annoyed and ate without savoring but not without talking!

“Well, things are complicated here, I didn’t expect that ...”
“I don’t know what to think, all this is unknown to me ...” Alexandre explained, dubiously. “Nevertheless, I hope that Hitomi will be better soon.”
“Ah that ... I hope too ... I think the trip to Gaea put her in a delicate position ...”
“Delicate, pfff ...” The general of the Tusk army sighed.

Intrigued by these words, the old Prince turned to Yiris and questioned her.

“You don’t think it’s difficult to be away from her reference points, you?”

Advancing a few steps in his direction, the general faced him. A strange smile floated on her lips. Her expression had a little melancholy side.

“You can’t imagine how I envy her!”
“How that?” Meinmet and Alexandre asked together, stunned.
“In fact, I also come from the Moon of Illusions, from Greece, precisely.”

A certain astonishment followed this revelation. After a brief silence, the old Prince continued the conversation.

“Ah ... surprising ... And it is from there you keep your funny accent?”

The young woman shrugged her shoulders. Her way of speaking always attracted the curiosity, unlike her brother, who had lost this little specificity betraying his origins.

“Constantin and myself have been trained here as we only were seven and thirteen years old. She explained. This happened on the day of my communion ...”
“A communion? It seems to me that the Orthodox don’t do this?” The old man, who had known Eastern Europe countries, noticied.
“Indeed! But there are similar traditions. My maternal grandmother was originally a Catholic Yugoslav. And, remember this, she particularly appreciated the tradition of the Mass followed by a party that was celebrated the thirteen years of the teenagers of her village in the region of Meteora, where she lived since her marriage. She called it “communion”. My uncles, my aunts and my mom had done this, and some of my cousins before me ...
August 10th, 1982 should be a festive day, it became the beginning of the nightmare ...”

Then, Yiris began to hold tight the little golden Orthodox cross she wore on a black ribbon tied around her neck.

“So it's been almost twenty-five years you live here?” Meinmet questioned.
“Yes, Yiris answered, that’s probably just, I have lost sense of time after all thoses years ... I know I was born on August 4th, 1969. I think I was about thirty-five to forty years old ...”
“Well, we are in 2007 on the Mystic Moon, in July, to be precise, so you'll soon be thirty-eight years old ...”

Listening these words, the general had a small amused sigh.

“Thirty-eight years. .. Thirty-eight years ... I suddenly feel old! This is the first time for years that I concretely located myself in time ... So, I realize that, really, no, I'm not in a nightmare and I will not wake up in my bed, quietly at home, having forgotten everything ...”
“And how did you get here? ” The old man asked with some curiosity.
“Ah that … So it was the day of my communion, so we were in Meteora, in northern Greece. With my brother, we wanted to follow a game of football, so we took a radio and we were sitting at the edge of a cliff to pick up well because there was a lot of noise in the air, strangely …
Then, suddenly, the sky obscured. The weather became stormy. A strong wind rose. And then, my brother and I thought having see a flash, surprisingly vertical, fall into a river below. A strange light persisted in the water at the point of impact.
I still don’t know why we did that. Constantin and I went to see, along with our just two years old little sister. Despite the steep and rugged ground, we walked with quick steps, as irresistibly attracted. The poor Nikaia had difficulty to follow, she often stumbled but, in a trance, we were content with taking her up and continuing …”

Gradually, the face of Yiris began to be shaking with by nervous trembling. She seemed close to tears.
Surprised by this sudden fragility she showed, Meinmet and Alexandre remained silent.

After a few moments of silence, the young woman continued her story.

“Finally, we reached the river. And although many minutes have elapsed, the light seemed even stronger and above all, it was clearly pink. I remember saying to Nikaia to stay on the shore while Constantin and I started to move forward in the water without even removing our shoes.
I remember my sister crying. She clasped her ragdoll on her breast and told us she was scared, she wanted we back to our parents ... But we didn’t listen ...
In water, we soon spotted a bright pink big stone. It seemed as it called us, I wanted to raise it but impossible. Constantin wanted to help me and then ...”

This time Yiris trembled her whole body, her discomfort was visible. The look in the wave, she could still talking, despite a voice clearly lacking her ordinary insurance.

“A circle of light surrounded us ... Immediately we came back to reality and realized our mistake ... Our sister was screaming. We plead her to stay where she was. We wanted to escape from this circle, but our feet were still glued to the floor ...
It was then that a pillar of light was going from the ground to the sky. Suddenly, we were off the ground. We cried, begged it to stop, we tried to move ... But no way …
Nikaia was increasingly panicked. Ignoring our warnings, she wanted to help us, she began to go into the water. For the last time, we told her to stop walking and here we were as projected into the sky ...”

After this difficult passage, the general paused, the time to recover by taking her breath calmly.

“We landed in a lake. And then, the situation has taken a turn even more crazy! This was a cat-man who has rescued us! When we ended up on the shore, we saw the Earth and the moon shining in the sky ...
People were nice to us. They welcomed us into their village, offered a home. However, it was over, we were not at home and we had no means to turn back ...”

Then, Yiris walked to a window where she could watch her home world with a nostalgic smile.

Wishing to learn more, Meinmet dared a question that he judged unwelcome soon after he has asked it.

“And how did you become a general?”

As if she hadn’t heard anything, Yiris kept, a few moments, her gaze lost into the sky. Feeling that it was better to speak than let speculate, she sighed before explaining.

“It's long and complicated ... The life of the exile wasn’t easy every day ... I had to learn to fight and it has proved that I was quite good at it. I conquered a tribe and my little feats of arms have brought me to be appointed to this position by His Majesty.
You should know that the King had decided to create a new army to better represent the country and its patronage and the one of Tusk army, which leader hadn’t parents alive, were chosen by the Sovereign in his soul and conscience.”
“I understand, Meinmet said, but still, you had to take part in some important battles to finish in this ...”

The old man didn’t finish his sentence, Alexandre had given him a violent nudge in the side and his disapproving look convinced him to stop the discussion there.
Feeling embarrassed, Meinmet murmured:

“Sorry …”

Yiris seemed surprised by this sudden interruption of the conversation, but above all, relieved. She returned directly to her normal state, ironic.

“Come on men, finish yours plates! I have something to do and I've to take my ghost with me. Lord Meinmet, if you feel like it, if the fancy takes you, you can come and see, it’s makeshift repair on melefs.”

The word "melefs" directly rained to the old man who seemed excited to go to a workshop.

“The mechanical, that speaks to me!” He said with a big smile.

Alexandre, for his part, remained silent. He was still talking about something unknown to him. He stood up to follow Meinmet, impatient to see the machines.
This is when the look of Yiris crossed his.

He thought to see thanks.

OoO

On the path that led them to the workshop, Meinmet and Yiris began to sympathize despite the extreme tension of their previous exchange.
First, they discussed about the technologies of Gaea comparing them with those of the Earth and, then, they discovered a common love of bicycles, songs of Boney M and pistachio flavored ice-cream.
And all this took place under the stunned eyes of Alexandre, who couldn’t believe the surreal direction the conversation had taken.

The arrival at the workshop even more surprised him. Amazed, he detailed the impressive machines that looked like huge armor seated on thrones.

The arrivals were greeted by a huge black-bearded soldier, another puny with just a mustache and a small man with glasses who having multiple tools attached everywhere on his work clothes.

“Well, chief, you're finally here!” The hefty soldier said.
“Ah Haymlar, don’t tell me. I am a sentinel I have difficulty to manage my time.”
“Hey hey, it's a very special mission entrusted to you, chief!” The lean soldier noticed with a facetious air.
“Oh, Yrkas, for God's sake, give it a rest! I'm not patient mood!” Yiris replied.

With these words, she went to a melef black with red designs on interlocking tusks on that could be considered as its arms.
Stamping the ground with a visible annoyance, she grumbled. Not daring to irritate her more, no one spoke until she broke the silence herself.

“Amelk, your diagnosis?”

Completely arched under the weight of his mechanic equipment, the little man with glasses walked towards the general.

“A failure in the conduction system of the left arm, but I can solve the problem. Mechanical transmissions are good, it must come from energy supply.”
“And concretely, when it will be repaired?”
“Hmm, not right away, chief. I just received this morning the plans of the manufacturer, I will have to study the circuits ...” Amelk explained, heading towards a table covered with papers.
“Melefs are filths! Yiris said, following him. They cost a fortune and are not even reliable. Good thing I didn’t currently need it!”
“You should change yours!” Haymlar laughed.

Hearing that, his comrade Yrkas crushed his foot in order to make him understand that he was going to cause a storm. And that was the case, Yiris flew into a rage.

“You stupid idiot, this model is the only one I can use. In addition, to pay it, I bled two years pay. Anyway, I hate melefs, they are unmanageable …”
“This is because you are too small to enjoy it!” Haymlar noticied with a big smile.

Time stopped in the workshop, each one was waiting for a response after this scathing remark. However, the face of Yiris just became deformed Yiris by nervous tics.
Given this situation, Meinmet couldn’t help himself bursting out laughing, which made falling tension directly.

“Excuse me,” the old Prince said, “but I thought I heard my brother, except that he complained that it wasn’t made for big people.
“Hey hey,” Amlek continued, “finding the guymelef that suits you is difficult! Now that most of the production is done in series, find his model is the true initiatory journey!”

The conversation settled. Meinmet learned that the three men were subordinates of Yiris, Haymlar his second Yrkas and his aide-de-camp.
Concerning Amlek, he was responsible for overseeing the machines of the Tusk army and told many stories about the chronic discord between his general and melefs.

While the small group chatted gaily, Alexandre walked around the room, observing carefully melefs, as in a trance, before returning to the feet of the one of Yiris.

Suddenly, Amlek jostled his chief. She wanted to yell at him first but small gestures and nods he made prompted her to follow his gaze.
Indeed, an unexpected scene was taking place: Alexandre was in the cockpit of the machine and seemed to manipulate the connections in the area down. Suddenly, to the astonishment of all, he managed to start the melef before making up the famous left arm.

"How did you do that?” Yiris asked, destabilized.

The young man came out of the cockpit with a lost air. To see him, he seemed to emerge from a trance.

“I … I don’t know …”
“I'm not kidding, the ghost! You started this thing and you've even repaired it, while from the Moon of Illusions, you can’t do that! Who are you?”

Alexandre stood up on the stairs to access the machine and stared at Yiris. Suddenly, the decor changed around her. He saw her, outside, at night, in the ruins. She was in armor but looked at him the same way, confused and aggressive in the meantime.

Stricken with a violent headache, he sat down.

“I don’t know, he said, angrily against himself, no I don’t know ...”

Yiris didn’t lose countenance. She approached and inveighed him.

“Follow me, and hurry!”

In front of the fury of Yiris, Meinmet tried to intervene. The young woman pushed him politely but firmly.

“Don’t get involved, it’s between him and I!”

Alexandre finally raised up and followed close behind Yiris. They left the workshop, leaving Meimnet, anxious, with the soldiers, skeptical.

Hurry, the general passed through buildings and gardens before going into the forest. Silent, the young man followed her, his head always made him suffer a lot.

After several minutes of walking, she stopped.

It was a small clearing, there was many imposing monuments. One of them faced Alexandre, who also remarked on the side, a white melef on which plants were grown.

“Is it your grave?” The general asked with a dry tone while staring at him.
"My grave?” Alexandre mumbled, disturbed, advancing towards the stele.

Suddenly, he felt dizzy. His skull seemed as caught in a vise increasingly tight. Many images passed through his mind, vague and fleeting.
And suddenly, he felt like a knife in the chest before losing consciousness.

Chapter Text

Their last dream

Fanfiction by Andromeda Mavros
http://www.hananokaze.org

Rating / Classement [+18]

First published in French on November 7th 2011
First published in English on December 5th 2015

Chapter 8

The need to understand

 

Disclaimer: The universe of The Vision Of Escaflowne belongs to Shoji Kawamori and the studio Sunrise, I'm just borrowing it for this story.
Except for a few characters and places that I created for the occasion.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

 

A groan of pain, Alexandre slowly regained consciousness. On seeing him open his eyes, Hitomi and Meinmet sighed in relief.
Noting that, Van and Yiris, stayed behind, left the room and began to talk in the hallway.

“What happened?” The King asked.
“Honestly, I don’t know. This man is sometimes really strange. Before, he repaired my melef. Then, in front of the grave, he fainted. Each time, he looked like he was sleepwalking.”
“Why did you brought him there?”
“I have to understand, comedy has lasted long enough! I wanted to confront him with what it seems to be. You know, for me, it becomes intolerable. I saw a dead person smiling to me, I cannot bear to see him risen up from the grave and talk to me as if nothing had happened ...”
“We talked about that one hundred times, but are you sure of not having dreaming?”
“No, I swear on my honor and even on my life! It was ten years ago, your brother's opened his eyes and smiled at me. I know it hasn’t any sense, it's impossible, but still ... Looking at this man is nonsense too! But, yet you see him like me...”
“It's a fact ...” Van sighed. I'm lost too ...”
“What should I do?”
“Continue your mission, what it happened proves that things are moving. We will end up to know the true ...”

The Sovereign went away, leaving Yiris alone with her doubts. A memory crossed the mind of the general: she saw herself walking in the ruins of Fanelia, and suddenly, on a pile of rubbles, a man was facing her, Folken Fanel.
Every detail of that brief encounter came to her mind, especially the remark on the fact that a true soldier should carry a sword, which Yiris hadn’t at this time.

The intonation of the voice, the look, in addition to the appearance, Alexandre was so like Folken ... Impossible but so real ...

Meinmet came down the hall and faced the young woman against the wall.

“Can I ask you a question?”
“Go ... ”
“What do you think he is?”
“An undead, maybe.”
“So why we are not scared?” The old man asked, puzzled.
“Because he inspires confidence, it was in his nature ... I haven’t seen this man once time alive the man and, at the first contact, you are conquered ... He had a way to talk to you, to look at you ... It pierced the soul ...”
“Alexandre seems to me away from all this ...”
“Far and so close together ... ”
“What my nephew said about it?”
“To continue as we began. Anyway …”
“Anyway? ” Meinmet asked.

The young woman stood up and went into the apartment as she can see the bed and Alexandre spooking to Hitomi, explaining again his incomprehension at the events.

Yiris began twiddling nervously the scabbard of her sword.

“No matter who he is, this man has answers. Answers that I’m waiting for a long time! As I have not those ones, his life will be my only priority, I want to understand.”
“Understand what?”
“Why I was sent here to live the hell!” She replied nervously.

Meinmet bowed his head, and then he called Hitomi, suggesting her to let Alexandre rest. This latter nodded and left the room with the old man.

After they left, Yiris exchanged a meaningful look with Alexandre, then sat on her camp-bed, without a word.

OoO

Hitomi and Meinmet walked to the garden. Passing near the repair workshop of melefs, the lean Yrkas came to meet them.

“Excuse me, Lord Meinmet, do you know what happened with the chief? ”
“Well, Alexandre fainted.”
“She did nothing at least? This story has put her on her edge. We feared that she get carried away by anger.”
“No, she did nothing. But why are you so worried?”
“This kind of strange things, it annoys her. The chief has always been seeking to understand and this man poses more questions than he solves.”
“What do you mean?” The old man said.
“I don’t know much about the chief. The general Hylden would be able to tell you more, he knows her better well. Moreover, he asked me to give him news quickly. However, I can tell you that the story of the risen dead, that's exactly what could push her into her extremes ...”

After those words, the soldier took leave, leaving the old man and the girl confused.

“Things are far from being clear here ...” Meinmet noticed.
“You cannot imagine how!” Hitomi sighed.
“Anyway, Miss, I think I owe you some apologies.”
“Apologies?”
“Yes, I have talked a lot since I came here and I understand you didn’t want to come back because you've been through hard times here.”
“I can admit I didn’t want to return to Gaea... But Meinmet, do not feel guilty! I realize only now that wanting escape our own past was not the solution. I had to come back ... However, things are not simple ... I feel lost ...”

Hitomi had said that last sentence with a sad look.

“So you must take your time and make a list with the good and bad things, it will help you to make a decision!” Meinmet replied with a smile. "Finally, please, excuse me, Miss Hitomi, but I have someone with I want to discuss.”

This time, Hitomi was alone with her ideas. She thought about her family, who still had to worry about her, to Yukari and Amano, she was afraid of ruining their marriage with her disappearance ...

Then she began to think about her relationship with Van. At last, if there was still a relationship ...

OoO

Meinmet’s curiosity had always been his greatest failing. Yiris had greatly intrigued him and wanted to understand her story: how a girl of the Moon of Illusions had turned soldier on Gaea? What was the hell that she was referring to?
Meeting the famous Hylden, who was closed to her, seemed a good track to follow.

In another area of the palace, marked by claws, symbol of this part of the army. It was riding time. Many soldiers came to master their horses.
Asking his way, Meinmet arrived in a small office. Behind a table overflowing with leaves, stood a young man with long brown hair.

“Good evening, I have the honor to speak to Hylden?”
“Right! This latter replied with a smile, looking up these files. And you are the Lord Meinmet! Very honored to meet you, Your Highness.”

The general tried to rise, but Meinmet gave him a sign that it wasn’t necessary. Hylden for his part, invited the old man to sit down.

“To what I owe the honor of this visit, my Lord?”
“Yiris.”
“Why?”
“I admit, I like to know more thing about her. The aura of mystery that surrounds her intrigues me greatly.”
“Yiris is Yiris. She is indescribable ...”
“Maybe ... But I would like to know how she earned her appearance. When she talked about her early years in Gaea, she trembled.”

Hearing these words, Hylden stopped his work and leaned on the back of his chair, realizing that he was going to have a conversation.
He couldn’t refuse to talk to a member of the Royal family.

“I'm not sure what it will advance you to know. But Yiris lives with a ghost. This demon of the past, she sees it everywhere even on her mutilated body.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know the details. She refuses to talk about it, I don’t think Lord Van was knowing more. What Yiris lived, she didn’t need to talk. She learned to live with accepting it because nothing will erase the scars.”
“What do you know about?”
“In fact, we know that her career began with the destruction of the village where she and her brother had lived. After, there is a big blur, even Constantin denies the existence of this period. Yiris reappeared at Irini fifteen years after and defeated the Master installed in a duel of unprecedented violence, becoming the leader of this tribe. Her inhuman strength, mysteriously acquired, made that no one disputes her authority.”
“It appears that you know still good.”

A small smile crossed the face of the general. He remembered, amused, "the good old days."

“I met her at the end of the war. The leaders were asked to return to the capital. Lord Van wanted to offer a Royal funeral to his brother. But he had a problem to solve, he wanted to bury his brother as a human and not as the monster created by Zaibach. For this, he wanted the mechanical arm of the latter was disassembled.
At that time there was no one who knows how to remove it without destroying the body. So, as I was a doctor, the King asked me to look how was the arm was made with the hope that I to understand how to remove it properly. To help me, there was Yiris, it turned out that for years she had been a gravedigger, and sometimes had to manage preparations for burials.
With Yiris, we examined the prosthesis, and pooling our knowledge, we have detached without damaging the body. His Majesty asked that the piece of metal is crushed and that we deal the last rites, and ..."
“And?"
“Yiris would remove the piece of metal stuck in the torso of the body when she screamed, I remember the scene, she was down several steps, finally sitting on the floor, the piece of metal in her hand.
When I asked her about what had happened, she told me she was certain that the Prince had awakened and smiled.
After having regained consciousness, she told me having meet him once time, in the ruins of the city, refuge when he came to. Her tribe was on duty to protect the place.
So, she had exchanged a few words with him. This latter was particularly surprised that she has no sword and Yiris replied that the sword was made to kill even unintentionally while the stick that killed if this owner insisted.
Folken had replied that she could perhaps find another use to a sword and he promised to give her his own when he wouldn’t has the usefulness of it.
Thus, telling the meeting, she asked the King to recover the broken sword and the fragment, which he accepted. Since Yiris began thinking in her mind that this sword was in fact a answer to her questions. So naturally, with the arrival of Alexandre, this is her world broke down."
“And what do you think she will do?"
“What Yiris wants, she gets it. She is not afraid of anything or anyone. By living here, you probably hear a lot of things about her, including that she is the owner of a whorehouse, she is drugged her brother is an alcoholic ...”
“His brother seems to be not more pleasant ...”
“You say, Constantin is hateful. I cannot count the times I've helped Yiris to go pick it up in the gutter after a fight of drunkards. His sister was good to watch over him, he takes pleasure in embarrassing her but she forgives him all ... This is his weak point. "
“And do you know why?"
“Again, the details, I don’t know them, but Constantin speaks of his sister as a monster ... On this point, it could be a friend of my wife ... " The young general sighed.
"Your wife?"
“I'll be honest, my wife hates Yiris. Unlike her, she is a woman all he has increasingly well educated, logically, she is jealous! Hylden said, amused. Kyria spends her time on slandering Yiris, for her, she is the devil ... "
“The wives are still jealous ... Especially if we abandon them to go talk to another woman on a roof ...”

Fatalistic face the remarks he heard for the umpteenth time, the General merely shrugged and looked away.
That the person was more or less immoral, nothing changed!

So he was surprised when the old man leaned forward and put his hand on his shoulder.

“Sometimes life is unfair ... We need to!"

Meinmet had spoken with a small sympathetic smile. After this instructive conversation, he went away, leaving the military with his tasks.

The old Prince walked along the esplanade of the palace, thinking all he had learned. His intuition about the fact that Yiris already had an advice on Alexandre grew stronger.
In addition, the case of Yiris touched him. Her distress of exiled resounded in him. Living in an unfamiliar world and have to adapt, he had known this a long time ago.

OoO

On returning to her apartment, Hitomi was surprised to find Merle who was waiting outside the door. Since the revelations of Constantin, the two young women had just crossed

“I think we have things to speak." The cat-woman said shyly.

Seeing her, Hitomi felt resentment recovered. However, overpowering, she replied without looking at her.

“Yes, follow me ...”

Passing before her, Hitomi opened the door and asked her to enter. The young woman walked to the round table in the lounge and sat on a chair, before speaking, in an evasive and monotone voice to her visitor:

“Sit dawn ..."

Confused, Merle approached and sat face to Hitomi. This latter will give off any aggressiveness. Her face was turned towards the window, staring out Fanelia.

A strange silence reigned in the room

Gathering all her courage, the young cat-woman began speaking:

“If you wouldn’t to talking to me again, I understand. But be certain of one thing, I never wanted to hurt you in anyway."

Attentive to each reactions of Hitomi, who remained silent, Merle tried to continue her explanation.

“Lord Van and I even did not know how to explain it with you... We know he had to confess the situation before you learn it by someone else ... As was the case ...”

Suddenly, Hitomi's face had a little grimace, Constantin revelation back to her.
Perceiving it, Merle had a great thrill but continued weighing her words.

“Hitomi, since you left, Lord Van worthily fulfilled his King’s responsibilities without wavering. But behind the public facade, he was consumed with sadness. The view of him gradually sinking into melancholy was unbearable for me.
He didn’t tell me everything. .. I could only stay with him in order to soothe his pain.
Over time, Lord Van has changed a lot, he changed from the frail boy to the man … I had grown up too.
We always slept together since childhood, but with time, things have been different ... Lord Van sought another form of comfort, which I think went far beyond what he could have imagined claim from the time when you left. ..
Gradually, this gap began to take precedence over him, even if I though I could see him fight against it. But, one day, everything changed ... I couldn't dismiss him ... I couldn't do that to him ...
Finally, I accepted this situation by persuading me that way, I would bring him some solace that would allow him to overcome his sadness."

Hitomi remained frozen, almost extinct. She had an expressionless look and remained immersed in her silence.

Merle felt her chest compressed.

“Hitomi ... I beg you ... Don’t blame him!"

The cat-woman burst into tears. Totally distraught, she rushed to Hitomi, and crouched against her knees.
To her despair, her interlocutor didn’t react.

“If in order to you can trust again in Lord Van, I have to leave, I accept that and I will never come back! But I beg you, if you can hate me, I implore you to forgive Lord Van!
There is not a day when he had not think about you! The one he loves, it’s you! I was just a consolation ..."

Ensued several minutes of crying. Being about to resigning, Merle was surprised to feel Hitomi gently put her hand on her hair.
Reporting to the head abruptly, she saw that she was looking into her eyes with extreme gentleness.

“Merle ... It's not me that will forgive you, it's up to me to ask your pardon ...”

Stunned, Merle's eyes widened while Hitomi put her other hand on her arm.

“Merle ... How you must have suffered ... Torn between your feelings, your loyalty ... It's the same for Van ..." Hitomi said softly, beginning to cry. “Because of me ... Can you both forgive me"

Moved, the cat-woman jumped into her arms. They stayed a moment crying while smiling.

Then, raising her head, Merle asked, full of hope:

“Hitomi, you'll stay here with us?"

This latter looked sketching a shy smile. So the cat-woman hugged her whispering "Thank you".

Then slowly Hitomi stood up and walked to the window, wiping her tears. Merle followed.

In the courtyard of the palace, they saw Van conversing with Hylden. As if he felt observed, the King turned his head towards them and saw the two together.

Looking at the Sovereign, Merle turned to her friend:

“You're the woman he wants ... I think there isn’t a night he didn’t dream that it's you who is huddled with him ...”

Hitomi smiled slightly. Within minutes, she stood watching Van before leaving the windowsill.
Then she accompanied Merle at the door of her apartment, thanking her.

Still under the influence of emotion, the cat-woman clasped her of a sincere hug before leaving.

OoO

It was night, everyone was asleep. In the apartment of Alexandre, Yiris was snoring all she could.

Suddenly a knock at the door was heard.

“Chief, I'm sorry to bother you, but there is a problem with Constantin". Haymlar explained through the door. “I discussed with Hylden, and he told me that, this time, he think it’s necessary that you go there, your brother screwed up the mess in the whorehouse."

Still half asleep, Yiris rose grumbling.

“I get dressed and go down."
“OK, chief, Hylden is waiting for you downstairs, I'll watch here, go quiet."

Furious, Yiris dressed in haste, under the gaze of Alexandre intrigued that had emerged and went away, leaving him to the care of Haymlar.

Quickly, the young woman came to the southern gate of the palace where Hylden expected her.

“I'm sorry. He said. But when Haymlar gave me the message of his sister, I felt that there, you had to do something."
“What he had done this time?”
“From what I understand, still under the influence of alcohol, and surely something else, he hit several girls, and there he threatens to kill one.”
“Not only he screws for free, but in addition, he puts the mess, but why ...” Yiris sighed angrily.

The two generals made their way to the gritty neighborhood, Yiris struggled to hide her concern. She knew her brother, able to have violent outbursts, he had also killed in cold blood a drinking companion a few years earlier and, his fights, frequent, were spectacular.
If Van had no more or less condoned his actions, conscious of its exceptional qualities bodyguard, Constantin was stagnated for a long time in prison ...

Given the seriousness of the incident, Yiris wondered if this time he didn’t finally end up in jail ...

Chapter Text

Their last dream

Fanfiction by Andromeda Mavros
http://www.hananokaze.org

Rating / Classement [+18]

First published in French on November 15th 2011
First published in English on January 3rd 2016

Chapter 9

An unwelcome visitor

 

Disclaimer: The universe of The Vision Of Escaflowne belongs to Shoji Kawamori and the studio Sunrise, I'm just borrowing it for this story.
Except for a few characters and places that I created for the occasion.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

 

If Fanelia was a new city built with a well thought way, it has, like any metropolis, its dodgy area.
Located south of the city, in an area that almost never sees the sun because of the cliffs, it was a dark place, with establishments where the visitor could hear the cries of drunkards or whores laughter’s.

Hylden and Yiris progressed with a firm and pressed step, in plain clothes, a simple beige trousers and a white shirt with brown jacket, sword by side for him, and her usual black pants and top with colored belt maintaining her stick on the back for her.
In those places, they were quite known, also to avoid any trouble, passersbys looked away.

They came to a small staircase of three massive steps dominated by a heavy wooden door. The woman knocked several firm shots.

“It's Yiris, I'm with Hyden!”

The door opened and a girl who only wearing a transparent dress, blond hair in shambles, appeared, completely panicked.

“Oh, chief, I'm so happy to see you! Mila asked me to keep the entry. She tries to calm your brother, but I swear, he's totally crazy. He holds a knife on the throat of Anna and he said he will bleed her like a pig if you didn’t come. I beg you, stop him ...”
“Calm down, Sasha!” Yiris told. “Just say where is him.”
“In the reception room before the garden.”

Hastily, the young woman crossed the corridors which the rooms were limited by glowing red curtains of tulle. Hylden followed her.

A few meters further, they found a group of young women who were pressed against each other, trembling with fear.

Facing them, wallowing in cushions, barechested, lying, holding on him a terrorized redhead girl that he maintained with a knife, Constantin was enjoying his effect.

The Madam, a tall brown haired woman aged about fifty, with rounded shapes highlighted with a red dress and fitted bodice, was talking to him, trying in vain to calm him.
She kept some confidence despite the ambient pressure. It was necessary to say she was the sister of Haymlar. They resembled physically and in behavior.

Disgusted by this pathetic spectacle, Yiris departed the crowd to force a path to her brother.

“Constantin, you'll tell me what is wrong with you?”
“Oh, but would not my favorite sister?” The young man joked, inebriated. “And besides, she came with her lover.”

Hylden, stayed behind, made an effort to not go put his fist in the face of the arrogant, who laughing to see that his remark had reached its target.

“Seriously, I was almost to wait!”
“Wait for what? ” Yiris asked, furious.
“Well, you forsake me my dear sister, and your little employees, too cute and imaginative in bed they are, don’t replace your presence …”
“What do you want?”
“Allow you to enjoy a little moment of relaxation. Look, you are free from your work, you should drink a glass with me, and why not, choose a more relaxed dress like these girls. However, the doc,” he said, addressing to Hylden, “he goes out! Incest is already nasty, with a threesome as a bonus, it would be really inconvenient.”
“You're worse than drunken!” Yiris said afflicted. “What you have taken anything to talk about such a delirium?”
“Loneliness drives you crazy, what do you want …” Constantin replied by dancing his knife on the neck of his hostage.

Feeling more than delicate the situation, Yiris understood that strong measures would not work and she would have to get into the psychopathic game of her brother.
She nodded telling to Hylden to leave the room with the girls.
He obeyed, and only the manageress stood behind the curtain to see what was happening.

“I fear for the little young ...” She said, trembling, to Hylden.
“Mila, trust in Yiris, she will calm him down.”
“You believe what you say or is it just words supposed to reassure me?”

A sigh was the answer.

Now alone with her brother, Yiris starts releasing her hair, leaving them intentionally fall along her face.
With a slow and delicate gesture, she gives off her stick from her belt before putting it on the ground. Then she began to advance on all fours on the cushions to her brother.

“Isn’it you who said that, at the three, it’s not correct? Then let the girl go away …” She whispered in his ear with her strangely warm caressing voice.
“I don’t know, my dear sister. I also know that you disapprove incest, So I think you lay a trap for me ...”
“Oh, you will not trust me …”

The look of Yiris had something sensual, her body language made her attractive.
Hylden watched her. He didn’t know if it was disgust or jealousy he felt to see her proceeds in such way with Constantin.

With insurance, the, general kissed his brother in the neck while moving her hand on his chest. Delicious little shivers traveled Constantin who seemed to enjoy the situation.

Suddenly, the look of Yiris crossed that of the hostage, she made a little nod.

Taking advantage of the loosening of his brother's attention, Yiris blocked the hand holding the knife. She raised the arm with a sharp blow, making him drop his weapon, allowing the hostage to break free.

“Bitch, you got me trapped!” Constantin shouted, furious.

A fight began. Yiris and Constantin settle their scores with their fists. The altercation was violent and rapid.
The furniture was all already on the ground, as victuals. In some shots exchanged, the sister had blood on her lips while the brother showed a shiner.

After a brief pause where they look each other, the fight flared up again. Constantin insulted his sister as much as possible, she only responded with blows.

Hylden wanted to stop this, but that doesn’t seemed most evident.
The two opponents had a force superior to his own, and they move too quickly to allow him to give a clearly felt sword blow in the leg or arm of Constantin in order to calm him without risking injury Yiris by the way.

Finally, it was Mila who brings him the solution, handing him an improvised weapon.

“In the worst case, if you're wrong, you shouldn’t hurt the chief too strong …” The madam suggested.

Taking advantage of a break in the confrontation, Hylden walked behind Constantin. This one, too focused on his sister, didn’t see the coming vase that the general broke his skull.
After all, it was over and the prostitutes sigh of relief.

Wiping the blood from her mouth, Yiris looked with sorrow at her brother miserably spreading on the floor. The Madam approached and took her in her arms.

“You're the best, you know! Thank you!”
“I'm just trying to make up my mistakes ... Yiris said with a weak smile. Mila, I promise you that, this time, you will have no longer to open to him, he crossed the red line.”
“You're not responsible for his attitude. Usually, he’s just the most salacious and stingy client. This is the first time that I see him so. Most of the time, he collapses drunk and you just get him back in the quiet.”

While they were arguing, Hylden attached Constantin’s arms with a rope, too wary of this one woke up.

“He will not wake up any time soon!” Mila said. “Come enjoy a refreshing both!”

The two young generals followed the Madam to a small room where the girls had prepared a small buffet to thank their saviors.

After a well deserved rest, Yiris and Hylden picked up Constantin and trailed him in the streets to the palace.

Once the young man in bed, they sat on a bench outside.

“I think we need to talk about it to His Majesty. Your brother becomes uncontrollable …”
“I know, but …”
“But what? You have to stop protected him! Who knows, a good time in jail will refresh his ideas!”
“I'm aware, however I cannot do that to him.”
“Finally, why?”

Yiris put her elbows on her knees.

“Because if he’s here, it's entirely my fault.”

Hylden wanted to continue the conversation and try to convince Yiris, but he didn’t have the time.

“So you flirt together?” A angry voice declared.

Facing them, appeared a dark haired woman in night blue bathrobe and slippers assorted, some luxurious bracelets on the wrists despite the late hour.

“Kyria, go home, please.”
“And if I don’t want? And if I made a good scandal in the middle of the night?”
“You don’t need to make a scandal! Hylden answered trying to keep calm.
“No, you're right, someone knocks on the door, and hop, my husband disappears. And now, I find him smelling whorehouse with his slut, of course!”

Obviously feeling targeted, Yiris raised her head to face the pretty Lady's look, then stood up.

“Don’t worry, I'm leaving!

And she disappeared, leaving Hylden suffered endless reproaches of his wife.

OoO

Before returning near Alexandre, Yiris made a small detour through his old apartment. Constantine slept like a log on what was her bed before.
His snoring would probably have awakened a dead ...
Verifying, one last time that the person concerned couldn’t be aware of her presence and that the surroundings were calm, she discreetly raised a slab of the floor.

With great caution, she pulled out a little bag of burlap. Its content, everything needed to inject drugs, “offer a fix” as it was said on her native land.

Unbeknownst to her parents,, Yiris had started the drug early, first smoke weed with her friend, Jamie the records seller, then the heroin drug...

Quietly, she prepared a mixture, no more parents to watch, no need to search to sprick in a hidden corner ...
For a brief moment, she let herself fly and then returned to reality as quickly.

Fortunately, she knew how hid this vice, Hylden seemed to suspect something, but he had not yet taken her on the fact ...

The only one who knew the truth was Constantin.

At the few moments they shared together, they found nothing better than to destroy themselves by injecting this crap into the veins.

After arranging her affairs, the older sister went to see her little brother one last time. His arms were covered with traces, he must have his own reserve now because Yiris had noticed that the level of her hadn’t changed ...

Alcoholic, drugged, thirties years old, Constantin wouldn’t go live longer ...

And Yiris knew she was guilty of not being able to protect him, even up doing the opposite by sharing her addictions ...

OoO

The meeting that took place today in the Council chamber lost in endless palavers. The vigorous exchanges sometimes shook the walls. Mayek ans Yiris frequently violently opposed each other.

In fact, last few months, everywhere on Gaea, a strange phenomenon was causing troubles: the stealing of energist. The frequency and importance of the attacks cannot be a coincidence.
Whole convoys were intercepted and, every time, no witnesses had been left.
Fortunately, mines, placed under high surveillance, hadn’t been the object of attack. However, the transit of the precious resource posed a problem in all countries.
In Fanelia specifically, the situation became untenable. The wooded and hilly nature of the country facilitated ambushes.

Three commercial convoys, bringing energist to Asturia for making melefs, were intercepted in a short time despite significant escorts, a disaster.

The biggest convoy of the year from Arzas, had to leave in a few weeks, so drastic measures had to be considered.

“Your Majesty,” Mayek said firmly, “I believe we have no choice. We must recruit soldiers and ensure escort convoys by at least two hundred men each time. We lost too much energy in a short time. Moreover, those who rob us must now have a substantial force, if they attack us, our current armies certainly not be enough.”
“We will not send children!” Yiris raged. “Your Majesty, enrolled soldiers are never highly effective. And when you see the speed and violence of the assaults, I think the number will not stop our enemies. What is needed are more seasoned soldiers. Also, I think that train assault troops to watch discreetly convoys would be an advantage!”
“Always trying to sell your concept of the army of shadow, Yiris! Your buffoons are just good enough to steal an apple when the merchant has his back turned.”
“Your bad faith and your methods of oaf characterize well you Mayek. You know perfectly that the troops I have formed in Irini have a great potential, they know remained discreet and leap.”
“Leap upon what, a rabbit?”

Mayek and Yiris seem ready to jump on each one, the other two generals didn’t dare to intervene.

It was Van who finally settled the debate.

“I received a message from Asturia. In a few time a conference on this subject will be organized in Palas with officials from all states, even Basram should participate. We will see what to decide at this time.
Meanwhile, Ruhm should soon return from his pilgrimage in lost mountains. When he has reached Arzas, it will send us a letter to tell us the next departure of the annual convoy of the large mine. This leaves me time to think about your proposals for the escort to give it...”

OoO

The days flow quietly in Fanelia. After several days in bed because of his headaches, Alexandre spents again his days with Hitomi and Meinmet who had created a small workshop to try to rebuild inventions that had pleased him on the Moon of Illusions, such as a bicycle..

Despite herself, Yiris found herself designated as official subject tests and, several times, she ended amid in a of dilapidated scrap under the general hilarity.

Indeed considering himself too old, Meinmet didn’t want to test his gears. He judged Alexandre too big, and refused to irritate his nephew wich could injure Hitomi.
The conclusion imposed by itself : Yiris was the only person knowing biking he had on hand, because, obviously, Constantin showed himself very rarely, didn’t seem to appreciate this kind of things that reminded him of his past.

After a few days, Merle, who loved the idea, joined the team.
Hitomi had welcomed her rather cordially, as if nothing had happened.

Enthusiastic, the cat-girl sometimes occupies of the tests, but not really understanding how keep his balance, she roamed rarely more than a meter before falling ...

Soon, the little experiments experienced some popularity.

It was not uncommon that the test of a new prototype by a Yiris vexed to sacrifice her dignity but who don’t hide her pleasure to have fun as a child, brings together much of the palace staff.

Those activities occupy most of the guests time. Sometimes, Van invited them for dinner.
And they discussed, Meinmet monopolized the conversation, Alexandre didn’t dare to say anything, remaining to fix his plate.

The hot season came to its peak and the harvests would occur. A great celebration will concludes this hard labor period.
Hitomi watched in delight the preparatives. The houses are decorated with colorful garlands adorned by cob of wheat, and the cooks are busy preparing the most original and delicious breads.

As usual, Meinmet spent hours telling his memories, which often earned him small pikes from Merle who found him incredibly self-centered.

The old man was happy to be back in his country. Oddly, him, who was gesticulated most of the time in all directions, sometimes let go, as if now that he was home, he was allowed to age.
That said, his idea to reconstruct on Gaea some of the most interesting inventions of Earth rejuvenated his mind, besides, he, who was born second, appreciated of being the center of the curious interest.

Overall, Meinmet, Yiris, Alexandre, Hitomi and Merle constitute a quintet who got along well. The young cat-girl had forgotten the loneliness that characterizes her days waiting for Van.
For the general woman, the period being quiet, it was easy to delegate and although she still cursing her surveillance work, she liked to mind off things.

Meinmet was never tired of speaking, and Hitomi was much amused to listen to his sometimes comical anecdotes or heared him swearing on one of his inventions. This would avoid her to think constantly about what happened with Van.
Regarding Alexandre, he could hardly be relaxed, but made no case.
Only Yiris, which saw him fidget and talk in his sleep, suspected that something was going to surface.

For his part, Van was watching all that, thinking. No conversation with Hitomi since the incident, he didn’t know what to say. Just sometimes they exchanged brief embarrassed glances.
Merle had told the King that the girl was still in shock, it would take time for her to accept and may forgive.
Time … He had waited ten years. On one side, a little more, it made no difference, on the other, it became a torture. Sometimes his mind wandered, he was dying to hug Hitomi in his arms, to kiss her ...
But even if there were more and more difficult to contain his desire, he knew that resign hiself to be patient was his only chance, as difficult as it may be.

OoO

Night had fallen on the penultimate day of the harvests, the workers rested for their final day of work. Tomorrow, at the same time, the party could be at its height.

Not supporting warmth that hisaccentuates headaches, Alexandre had already fallen asleep, and Yiris, on her side, had taken the opportunity to borrow his bathroom and relax in a lukewarm water.
The rest of the palace was also calm, hose who cannot sleep only had the strength to look out their windows as the dry and hot wind overwhelmed them.

Under these circumstances and given the calm of recent weeks, he knew he had to seize the opportunity presented. From the top of a tree in the forest overlooking the city, he waited for the right time, which was not much delay ...

A few moments passed, the fateful moment came. Jumping from branch to branch with the agility of a feline, he passed without difficulty the guards of the edge of the forest whose only felt of its passage a small ephemeral breeze in the leaves of trees.

Finally, he was facing his goal. A few meters uncovered and it was good. Again, no problem, he jumped from the tree to rush easily on the balcony, yet more than five meters from the ground.
His target fwas ront of him, it was going to be really its simplest work, he was almost disappointed. False-person murderers like challenges.

He advanced a step, a stick to passed to his neck.

“Stop! You will not go further.”

Visibly output hastily from her bath, Yiris stood on his right. Wearing a little black bathrobe knotted hurry with a thick red belt, her hair was up in an improvised bun held by a piece of wood.

“You will know that I hate that one prevents me to bathe quietly!”

The killer chuckled, but he keeped an olympian calm.

“I was told that there was a risk of falling on you. I admit that the ease of this expedition was deeply disappointed me. Now, here's an interesting challenge, the famous general woman about everydoby everyone talks about. ”
“Ah? And what people saids?” Yiris asked amused.
“That you’re the devil incarnate, a true monster.”
“This is not new, people lack of imagination at this point?”

Without moving their bodies, frozen in battle position, they turned their heads to look at each other.

“I suggest going to continue this discussion on the roof. It appears that this poor young man, Yiris said showing Alexandre still asleep, easily got a headache, it would be a pity to wake him with our little explanation. ”

The false-person smiled and rushed toward the rooftop in a single bound. To his great surprise, Yiris made the same move to join him.
That's when the confrontation started, the intruder disappeared in the roof tiles, but his combat tactics were systematically anticipated by Yiris who struck where at a good place.

However, to the despair of the latter, beatings ended mostly in a vacuum, the opponent dodging easily even he having just been located.

Nevertheless since he could hide himself and trap his enemy by surprise, the false-person had to resolve to change his strategy and to combat his adversary head on.
Armed with a small dagger, he launched his attacks, all dodged. Yiris was also aerial and faster than him, but above all, she mastered perfectly the fight uncovered, so quickly, he could only defend himself.
The quiet of the moonlight night was troubled by the two shadows who were fighting with an almost furtive speed.

Annoyed for not being able take the lead, the killer decides to use a tactic of his people. He walks away from his opponent and began to pronounce a magical incantation.

Nothing ... No effect. The murderer could only see that his attack had no impact. Yiris, whose hair were now disheveled and looked like light waves under the rays of the moon, amused herself by typing her stick on the floor, smiling, obviously pleased with the disappointment of the false person.

“I see! This latter said. The other legend that I had heard would be true, I do not want to believe it and yet ...”
“After all, you reassure me about people's imagination!” Yiris joked. “But tell me, who sent you?”
“You will understand that I cannot answer.”
“I can force you.”

The false-person opined a nod, then started to walk away.

“You know that this is contrary to our nature.”

And he disappeared into the night. Yiris remained thoughtful in the moonlight. As she was about to return to her room, a voice called her.

“Bravo, bravo, beautiful!” Constantin said on the roof tiles clapping mockingly.
“What are you doing?”
“Well, I walked outside, and I noticed some interesting gesticulations on the roof, and after, curiosity … I wasn't disappointed for coming, it's rare to see you as littledressed ... But seriously, who was your playmate?”
“Forget it, the important thing is he's gone!” Yiris dryly replied returning keep an eye on Alexandre.

Constantin doesn’t add anything, he looked at his sister leaving with a small shabby smile …

“Predictable failure …”

And he also returned inside ...

Chapter Text

Their last dream

Fanfiction by Andromeda Mavros
http://www.hananokaze.org

Rating / Classement [+18]

First published in French on November 22th 2011
First published in English on August 27th 2016

Chapter 10

Free in a summer night

 

Disclaimer: The universe of The Vision Of Escaflowne belongs to Shoji Kawamori and the studio Sunrise, I'm just borrowing it for this story.
Except for a few characters and places that I created for the occasion.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

 

The following day, Hitomi marveled at seeing the festivities celebrating the end of harvests. Between the buildings, were deployed multicolored banners embellished with ears of wheat. The people were well matched with the joyful atmosphere with brightly colored clothing.

Songs resounded to the rhythm of a playful music wich Hitomi found oriental tunes.

With Merle and Meinmet, she walked in the city, admiring the stalls, tasting curiously the various breads offered …

The old Prince, happy to live again such a moment, told various memories about the tradition!

Back on the esplanade of the palace, Hitomi took part in the great banquet for the high dignitaries of the country.

Briefly, she saw Van. He addressed to her a tender look, she replied with a simple smile and preferred not to go to him. The situation was even confused in her head.

A little behind, Yiris looked around. Frustrated to haven’t be able to get something from the intruder, she had decided to keep the incident from the previous day for herself and continued to wonder about the meaning of this attack on Alexandre.
Intensely immersed in her thoughts, she jumped up, feeling a rod poking her skull.

Turning round, she saw Alexandre smiling to her.

“I noticed that all women had one, so why not you?” He said before returning to sit down.

Firstly, furious, she wanted to jump at his throat but, all things considered, she chose not to get excited for this detail.
So offering an amused look with a slight smile to her interlocutor, she adjusted the sprig of wheat, matching with the color of her hair.

And the rest of the day, and because of this coquetry, she was many times teased by her soldiers ...

The celebrations continued late into the night. The intense dry heat that reigned without even a breath of wind to make it less heavy, exhausted Hitomi.
She preferred to go to bed early. Leaving Meinmet and Merle enjoying the festivities.

Unfortunately, it was impossible for her to sleep. Tired to turning herself in bed, she finally got up and began to go through the corridors of the palace.

Her nocturnal exploration led her through a maze of empty rooms. And suddenly, at the turn of one of them, sitting on the edge of a window staring at the city.

Looking more closely, she saw Van. As perceiving her presence, he turned around.

One moment, both surprised, they looked at each other in silence. Then, without thinking, Hitomi took a few steps.

“What are you doing here?” She asked, intrigued.

He didn’t answer immediately. With a nostalgic smile, he turned his eyes toward the city from where they heard the latest partygoers still maintaining some ambiance.

“Because these parts are uninhabited and closed most of the time, they are particularly cold, even in summer. It's nice to come here when the heat gets too heavy”.
“It's strange to see a such empty palace ...” Hitomi remarked, thoughtfully.
“We used the old building plans. But we tried to modernize, especially by adding the goods lifts. Also, some fireplace have been moved to make it better heated.
In the past, the Royal family was numerous: many siblings, several generations, it was necessary to have much rooms to house all these people ...
Now, I have discovered the existence of my uncle, but I know to the obvious: I am the last of my line ... ” The young King sadly sighed, looking toward the city.

Hearing him talking, Hitomi felt a deep sadness. In the words of the young man, she understood his melancholy.

At this moment, Merle's words echoed in her mind ... She realized the loneliness experienced by Van and his need for comfort.

Exhausted by the heat, Hitomi began to totter before rest on a wall. Noticing the dizziness of the young woman, Van spoke to her.

“You no longer stand this heat anymore, right?”

The interested nodded, wiping the sweat on her forehead with the back of her hand. For his part, Van came down the ledge and walked toward her.

“I think I have something that will ease your pain, come with me!”

Smiling, he held out his arms to Hitomi. A brief moment, she hesitated and looked up at the young man.

He showed a comforting insurance, so she followed him.
During their short walk, the young woman could not avoid feeling a slight anxiety. No words were exchanged, which made the situation even more stressful.
However, upon reflection, she felt silly. After all, she knew she had nothing to fear from the young King.

Finally, they came to Van apartments, before which the sentinels, overwhelmed by the heat, had fallen asleep.

Amused by the "efficiency" of his guard, the Sovereign quietly opened the door.
Then he led Hitomi in a huge room that was obviously the bedroom and a small lounge for lunch before inviting her to sit at a table near a window overlooking the courtyard.

Although night has fallen for several hours, the place was pretty clear with the light of the Moon of Illusions.
Van went to a corner of the room and leaned down to grab a basket of woven straw which he placed on the table.

Surprising Hitomi, he took a strange blue fruit with a crescent of moon shape. Skeptical, the young woman retailed it, wondering what taste such a thing could have.

“You'll see, it will astonish you!” Van told. “But I promise you that eating this will relieve you!”

Taking a knife, the young man sat upside down of a chair, facing Hitomi. Then he planted the blade into the hull, visibly thick, of the fruit explaining:

“This is called a pisico. We can found it in the trees near the mountains. You'll see, it’s naturally very fresh, even in this heat.”
“Pisico ... This name reminds me of something ...” Hitomi said.
“The piscus, right?”
“Yes ... You had me offered one ...”
“And you have found its juice too acidic!”

Van couldn’t be able to not smiling at the memory of this story. But, remembering the slap he received thereafter, he continued thoughtfully:

“I hope, this time, it will be different ... ”

After splitting the pisico in two, he cut a piece of flesh that pricked with the knife before handing it to Hitomi. Doubtful, she tasted lip service.

Indeed, it was refreshing! So much so that she almost shivered. About the aftertaste, it was pleasant, slightly sweet.

“It's rather good!” She concluded, smiling.
“I'm glad you like it! I love this fruit, especially by this warm weather!”

Thus, the tasting continued. At each mouthful, Van was amused to see Hitomi shudder.Quickly the vision of her pretty delicate lips, well drawn, with their pretty pink color, obsessed him.
Restraining himself much as he could, he managed to control his mind.

For her part, Hitomi was better. As she slowly went better, her look met Van’s look.
There, sitting in front of her, she saw him as she had never seen him before ...

Shy, she continued to observe it. Van had really become a very attractive man ... And this thought began to tighten her stomach.

Suddenly, the young man put the knife, took a piece with his fingers and brought it to the lips of the young woman. Despite the confusion that came over her, Hitomi let him do.
Gently, he gave her mouth and took the opportunity to touch her lips. This contact aroused in him a desire so hot that he had great difficulty to detain in order to not go further.

Disoriented, Hitomi closed her eyes and felt her blood like boil. An impression in total contradiction with the freshness that dissipated slowly her vertigo.
Embarrassed, she turned her head to the ground before whispering:

“Thank you ...”
“I beg you ...” The young King replied in a voice with a soft astonishment.

They were close, so close ... Tweaking her hands, Hitomi finally timidly raise her head to Van. This one gave her a look full of passion.
Bewitched, she moved her face to his, also, he leaned and, thus, they exchanged a light kiss, their first.

After that brief moment of sensuality, was silence. Each one was confused. If Van couldn’t stop smiling, Hitomi stared her gaze to the ground.
After a few seconds, she mumbled something almost inaudible.

“Forgive me ...”

So she began to be agitate by slight convulsions, Van quickly realized she was holding back tears. Faced with this totally unexpected situation, he didn’t know how to react.

“Hitomi ... I …”
“No ... It's all my fault ... I'm sorry... At this time, I thought to myself ... Gaea was for me all these horrible vision ... I believed that with time would change it ... But instead, I prefered to please me in shunning my past ...”

Some seconds, Van looked at her. Not knowing what to say, he slowly approached her hand, she recoiled.
He sighed.

Then, quietly, he stood up and comes close to Hitomi. She trembled. Calmly, he knelt at her left and held out his hand again.
They stayed a moment, motionless.

Hesitantly, Hitomi put her hand to the one of young man before grasp it and pull it tight.

“I haven’t thought about how you felt ...” She whispered.

Slowly, she raised her head. Her green eyes were still red by tears. That look stabbed Van’s heart.
Deeply moved, he made a little smile and put his other hand over the one of Hitomi.

Smiling in her turn, the young woman added herself as her other hand above before continuing:

“I've abandoned you ... I ...”
“Please, stop talking!” Van interrupted calmly.

Their hands still clamped, Van raised up Hitomi. Her eyes riveted to his, she stopped shivering.
Then he separated his hands of her own before wiped with his fingers the traces the tears had left on the cheeks of the young woman.

“Hitomi ... We all commit mistakes ... I've been cruel with Merle ... We cannot change the past ... But we can live the moment ... ”

He advanced towards her, his hands slid from the cheeks to follow the salient lines of the neck of the young woman.
Hitomi knew exactly what he wanted and the gene began to seize her was immediately perceived by Van.

Then he looked away and walked a few steps while clutching his fists to discharge some form of tension.

“I’m sorry. You're still tired. I'll accompany you to your apartment, you have to rest.”

He went to the door and as he was about to open it, the fingers of Hitomi grabbed the fabric of the sleeve of his free arm.

“Wait …”

He stopped.

Through the fabric of his clothes, the young man felt the heat the one he loved. It was at the edge, soon, he would be able to control himself.

Suddenly, he heard a few words ... unexpected.

“Van ... I love you! I have always loved you!” Hitomi let go before burst into tears before cuddle up to him.

The King threw back his head. He was dreaming ...

No, it was real, she was there ... These ten years of waiting had not been in vain ...

Then he slowly turned around to tighten the woman in his arms. After enjoying a moment of this simple hug, she gently freed one of her hands and amused herself to point with her fingers the fine beard of Van.

Again, their lips met.

The kiss was passionate, endless ... Take upon herself, he devoured her lips greedily before long play his tongue with her.

When he finally let her take a breath, he whispered in her ear:

“Hitomi ... I love you too. If you know how ...”

The perfume of the young woman, the warmth of her body against him, the kiss he had dreamed ... Van freed himself, unable to stop.
He imprisoned Hitomi in his arms before browsing her with avid caresses. Elated by his gestures, she let herself go away.
Little by little, he became more daring and ventured his hands on her hips.

The young man was full of ardor. However, perceiving that she was tensed sometimes, he tried as best he could to temper his enthusiasm.
He coveted her for so many years ... But this moment, he wanted they savor it together. He had to control himself!

Calmly, he loosened his grip and ran his hands through the hair of the woman to free them from the ribbon that held them.
Like a river of gold, the ash-blond strands slid down around the face and neck of Hitomi.

Fascinated, Van seemed to discover a woman for the first time.

“You're so beautiful ...” He whispered with a possessed look.

Embarrassed, Hitomi show a small smile before turning her head in order to try to hide her cheeks reddened by confusion.

The King gently grabbed her left hand and brought it to his lips. Slowly he ascended the arms with little kisses before being limited by the fabric of her dress.
Then, with his other hand, he began to detach the belt tied.

When it gave way, the crossed top opened, Van put his hands between the folds of the jacket and going into raptures touching the skin of the throat of the young woman who appeared in his eyes, he kissed languorously in the neck.

Hitomi shuddered deeply embarrassed by the contact of the warm, moist lips devouring her skin.

Stired up by this little thrill, the King lovingly passed from one shoulder to the other, even having fun to tickle the ear lobe.
Hitomi's breath was short, Van totally lost his reason. Impatiently he finished getting rid of the jacket of the young woman and slipped his hand into his back to untie the ribbon that held her dress.

Suddenly Hitomi winced. Van understood immediately that he had been too eager. So he stopped his gesture and tenderly caressed the hair of his beloved to reassure her.

And when he felt the breath of the young woman being quieter, he began to untie the laces. Progressively, the small shoulder straps holding the dress slid down and it fell to the ground...
Slowly, Van let travel his palms along the back, savoring the skin softness.
Timidly, Hitomi looked up at the young man. At that moment, he felt her lost, he simply allowed himself at his desires.

“I ... I cannot stand it ... I want you. .. ” He confessed.

This time, Hitomi froze, she had reached a point of no return. Sensing her discomfort, Van hastened to reassure her:

“If you don’t want, I don’t will force you ...”

Hitomi deep breath to regain her senses. Finally, she looked up at Van and kissed him to show him her wish to continue.

So Van slowly began to detach her bodice. The underwear followed the drawing the arm and the curves of the bust before falling to earth.
Confused, Hitomi folded her arms across her chest.

To reassure her, Van simply snuggled against her. Reassured, she remained in her arms and even began to touch the body of the young King.
Despite the fabric of his clothing Van intensely felt the contact.

But not enough ...
So, he hastened to get rid of his shirt to remove any fabric border between them.

Burning with ardor, he passionately hugged Hitomi against his chest. There she noticed, touched, the presence of the pendant she had offered him a decade earlier.

Van was struggling to realize ... Hitomi's skin was incredibly soft ...

They remain enlaced a few moments, just savoring this new complicity.

However, the ardor quickly regained the upper hand. The King embraced the young woman in the neck before letting down his hands lingering on her back, clutching to the contours of underwear.

Hitomi couldn’t hold a sigh of pleasure.

Greedy, Van slid his hands under the fabric, with an ecstatic sigh in contact with soft curves. And, the more slowly as he could, the King brought down the cloth, perceiving the heavy breathing of the young woman in his neck, but also how she timidly began to caress his back.

And thus, the pants fell to the ground.

Finally ... There, in his arms, Hitomi was totally offered to him. He hardly dared to believe ...

Then, while covering her with hugs and kisses, he walked to the bed before lie her down on the sheets.

In her own, the young woman had fallen into a kind of passivity. Despite Van tenderness towards her, she couldn’t help feeling some anxiety.

She looked him embarrassed, as he undid his pants, smiling to her.
Gently, he lay against her side and began to caress her body passionately. He first made his fingers travel on the salient lines of the clavicle before lingered on the curve of the breast, hips, legs ... He assailed her with many kisses, caressed her with adoration, drawing off him numerous sighs and shivers ...

But he wanted more ... His hand then started down the hollow of her intimacy. Hitomi couldn’t help to fell some apprehension.

Softly, he began to caress the area with fingertips.
The hand of the young woman tightened on his arm. Then he whispered to her:

“Don’t be afraid, let yourself go ...”

Meeting his eyes, she raised her hand and placed it on his cheek. Feeling her confident again, he gave her a long languorous kiss before lying down again against her.
Again, he sent down his forefinger to feel the last frontier. And slowly, he began to enter with his finger, but feeling again Hitomi stiffen, he stopped short his gesture.

“I hurt you? ” He asked, worried.
“No, it's OK ...” She sighed. “But ... it's strange ...”
“If you want me to stop, tell me! I don’t want to force you …”
“Don’t worry, it will be OK ...”

For the young man, he was out of the question to force the woman he loved. Although, the small sparks which illuminated the beautiful green eyes of his beloved reassured him.
Resting his head against her heart, he repeated his gesture. Step by step, she relaxed, her breathing became more lascivious.

Then, carefully, Van slipped a second finger. Thus, playing with walls, he went into raptures a long time to observe the body of Hitomi thrilling and savored the fact of giving her pleasure.

He couldn’t wait any longer.

Stopping his gesture, he straightened, glancing full of desire to the young woman. Then, spreading her thighs, he lay down on her. Hitomi was destabilized, feeling his manhood closer to her intimacy.

The border was so close. Van was difficultly hold to his instincts urged him to conclude, he still wanted to enjoy it and not to rush.

So, a desire flow through the mind.
He covered Hitomi with caresses and passionate kisses, occasionally returning to devour her lips passionately, before finally continue his exploration... Lower down...

Cajoling her legs, he amused himself by biting a little her toe, making her smile. And, slowly, began to rise.

At first, he simply embrace her inner thighs, but quickly went astray on nymphas.

Stunned, Hitomi recoiled instinctively. Van stopped and lay down again on her. Tenderly, he strokes her hair and put soft little kisses on her forehead.

“Don’t forget, if you want, I stop now ...”

The confusion that had reddened her cheeks prevented Hitomi to find her words. She could only smile to him. Knowing it was her way to show her confidence, then he stood up.
The young woman took her face in her hands and gave his a soft kiss before letting it back down to continue his initiative.

Slowly, he approached her intimacy and delicately put his lips. Under the effect of this particular contact, Hitomi clenched her hands on the sheets.

Little by little, a strange heat wave began to appear, telling her to let go. At every flick of the tongue her body was contracting increasingly stronger.
Van still amused himself a few moments to make her shiver, varying intensities and movements in order to make her greater to react.
After several minutes of this delicious torture, Hitomi stretched herself sensually in a last voluptuous sigh.

Happy, King stood up and watched the young woman, blushing, who offered him the most beautiful and disarming smiles.
Tenderly, he leaned down to caress her sweaty face. Losing himself to admire her, he searched in her eyes a form of consent and knew immediately he had it.

Dubbed, Van hastened to leave finally run free his ultimate desire.
He devoured her lips again and began to bring his pelvis near her own. In a alacrity he hardly temper, he tried to get into her.
His sudden movement snatched a small cry of pain to the woman.

Controlling his drive with difficulty, Van had an embarrassed look to Hitomi. Moved, she recovered and caressed his face, trying to reassure him.

Taking a breath, he continued his languorous path. So, Hitomi firmly pressed her lips against his and their tongues tangled more as he joined her.

As best she could, she tried to relax in front of the pain that began to tugging her.
Van tried to master himself but if the passion was too strong. The young woman felt a sharp tearing and reared up because of the pain.

Overwhelmed by the sensuality of the moment, Van rushed into her with happiness. But opening his eyes, the tense expression of Hitomi quickly brought to the reason.

“Excuse me, I don't’ want to hurt you! I …”
“Don’t worry ! I'm fine. ..” She said, although she was unable to retain some tears of pain.

The long seconds of silence which followed were a real torture for Van, who cursed himself for not having been able to retain his instincts.
Then, Hitomi relaxed and her breath became more suave, she hugged the young man to bring as much as possible near her.

“I love you ...” She shouted in a smile mixed with tears.

They took advantage a few moments of this union, motionless, overwhelmed by a deep sense of fullness.
Van tanned skin contrasted with that pale skin of Hitomi, but here they had became one.

Suddenly, the young King was taken with a bestial impulse.

After ten years of frustration, he had waited long enough!

His patience was gone ... He finally let go completely to his drive, engaging in languorous back and forth.
The kisses became more insistent, interrupted by raucous sighs.
Seeing him possessed by passion made Hitomi thrilled. The pain was trailed away, replacing step by step by pleasant sensations.
She detailed Van’s look. The young man bit his lips with pleasure, eyes half closed, dripping sweat showed off his muscles ...

Throughout his sudden shots of waist, he gradually felt the enjoyment submerge himself and in a last movement, he collapsed on Hitomi, exhausted.
Finally ... She belonged to him entirely!

Her breath short, the young woman regained her senses, while leaning on his elbows, Van took her head before saying, breathless:

“I ... I love you ... Hitomi ...”

There followed a last passionate kiss, Van took full advantage of their union one last time before retiring.
Then, he lay down against her before bringing the sheets on them.
Snuggled in his arms and cradled by the beating of his heart, Hitomi fell asleep peacefully. Sated with pleasure, Van also savored that rest, satisfied to finally be the first.
While taking over his breath slowly, he admired a long time the silhouette of the slepping woman.

He couldn’t realize the intense moment that he shared with the one he had endured the absence for so many years.
For the first time, he experienced the feeling of having finally te right to be happy, just as a simple man.

Chapter Text

Their last dream

Fanfiction by Andromeda Mavros
http://www.hananokaze.org

Rating / Classement [+18]

First published in French on November 29th 2011
First published in English on November 10th 2016

Chapter 11

Fragments of past and future

 

Disclaimer: The universe of The Vision Of Escaflowne belongs to Shoji Kawamori and the studio Sunrise, I'm just borrowing it for this story.
Except for a few characters and places that I created for the occasion.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

 

Daylight awoke Hitomi. When she opened her eeyes, she saw Van watched her tenderly, leaning on his arm.

“Hello … You are awake for a long time?” She whispered timidly.
“No, don’t worry!”

He lied. He no longer sleep for a while. Seeing that he hadn’t dreamed and Hitomi was lying, naked, in his bed, he had just watched her sleep, gently touching, taking full advantage of having finally her close to him ...

Slowly he stroked the face of the young woman, still sleepy, before expanding over her in order to kiss her, a long time.

“I’m sorry, but my King duties forcing me to leave you. The Council will take place within a little less than an hour, I can’t be late.”
“I understand …”
“Also, I have to ...”

The hesitant voice he used left Hitomi perplexed.

“You have to?” She asked, a little worried.
“In fact, he continued, I cannot leave you here. At the end of the corridor, domestics are waiting for the moment when I leave my apartment to come and do the daily cleaning. So if you stay there ...”
“All the kingdom will know what happened this night ...”

With a small nod, Van confirmed the intuition that she had, which made her feel very bad.
After a last long kiss to reassure her, the young man stood up and picked up their clothes, tending hers to Hitomi.

While dressing up the young King looked out the window: the people just beginning to clean the city following the festivities of the night before.

Then, not hearing Hitomi move, he turned toward her.

Silent, she was sitting on the edge of the bed, frozen, looking at a blood stain on the sheets ... Gently, he approached her and sood up the young woman before hugging her in his arms.

“I'm sorry, I was too brutal last night ... I hope you are not suffering ...”
“No, be sure, I'm fine, but ... about the stains ...”
“Don’t worry, I promise to solve this problem with the greatest discretion before going to Council.”

When the two were dressed, Van led Hitomi in a small annex room of his apartments. Hitomi was surprised to see him drag a wall.
A secret passage therefore he drove into a small room just lit by a high gate open on the outside.
Again, he slid, uneasily, a wall, and this time they found themselves in one of the annexes of the apartments of Hitomi.

With an embarrassed face, he explained:

“There is the same passage to the garden side dependence. It’s crucial that a Sovereign was never trapped in his apartment. Many macabre stories remind it ... But you can see with the fact that it was blocked, as this one has never been used to spy on you!”

With her hand, Hitomi chuckled before passing the threshold of the secret door. Taking her hands, Van spoke to her:

“Are you sure everything is okay?”
“I swear, it's alright! ”
“Whether, you must know one thing, this night spent together only belongs to us. I promise you will not have to fear the consequences, I will not impose you anything. I know you need to think about, I'll let you all the time needed, but it will never break the moment we share together.”

Then returning to his room, Van removed the stained sheet and put it in the chimney where he lit a brief fire.

And, while compromising piece of fabric burned, he replaced it with a new one before finally going out in the corridor.

Passing briefly through his office, his path crossed that of Merle. Looking around and seeing they were alone, he hugged her and whispering:

“Merle … Can you ...”

The young woman gently separates from him and smiled before answering.

“Let's never talk about that again! You should know that you have never hurt me ... In my own, all I want is to see you happy ...”
“Thank you for always have being there ... ” He added as he caressing her cheek before leaving.

He would have never thought that within less than a day, his world has completely changed. An unusual smile on the face, he went to the Council room.

For her part, Hitomi was lying on her bed, thoughtfully. What she had just experienced was surreal, but it was probably the most beautiful time she'd ever lived.

OoO

The day was not provided to dream because an information from Asturia had caused panic among the soldiers of the palace.A new energist convoy was attacked near the border with Fanelia, but this time the massacre had taken another turn.
In fact, in addition to the theft of the goods and the execution of the escort, the mysterious enemies had added a macabre scene by hanging by the feet everybody to the branches of the surrounding trees.

This escalation in violence was of course the subject of all conversations and, of course, the theme of the Council.

Again the atmosphere was stormy. Recently, Van had invited his uncle Meinmet to the meetings in order to have the opinion of an elder and, above all, a fifth force to resolve acerbic debates between the young and old generals.

Following an immutable tradition, Mayek and Yiris dominated the discussion, spending their time to inveigh each other.

“Your Majesty, we must mobilize our forces. We must recruit and if necessary, put five hundred men on a convoy.”
“For having massacred and hung one hundred and fifty men in Asturia in a very short time, they are as numerous as efficient ... I think we should organize escorts escorts of stealthy scouts that will give warning as soon as possible.”
“Of course, like this, our soldiers will wait quietly to be slaughtered while playing cards.”

Once again, the table is not enough to prevent the generals from fighting. And so, Hylden kept Yiris while poor Luyren was exhausted to contain Mayek's strength, insults were numerous

Faced with this situation, Van no longer smiling. On the contrary, sitting, not even looking at the childish brawl, he sighed in despair at the obvious stupidity of those who were supposed to be the elite of the country.
Muted a moment in front of of the astonishing altercation, for the first time, Meinmet dared to speak.

“And if we did a mix of both proposition?”

The belligerents net stopped and all eyes converge towards the old man sitting at the end of table, facing Van.

“What do you mean?” The young King asked raising his head.
“Well, let's do a test on a convoy. A large army as Mayek suggested surrounded by discrete scouts as Yiris preaches ...”
“What a great idea! I am so used to seeing these two opposing that I have difficulties associating their viewpoints.” Van said, amused.

He was not the only one to laugh, Hylden and Luyren couldn’t help to find funny this situation where Mayek and Yiris were paradoxically for once agree with each other!

“Well! The King announced as he stood up. I received a message of Ruhm, he just came back to Arzas and supervise the preparations of the convoy. We will escort this one it with two hundred men and an elite troop. So, we will test this concept of combined escort, also, we will do two things at once by sending Alexandre meet Ruhm.”
“Why?” Meinmet said, surprised.
“Ruhm was the childhood friend of Folken, they were born the same year. Nobody knows better the story and the personality of my brother than him. So I think if he meet Alexandre, it could be a big help ...”
“Is there not a important risk if that Alexandre will turn out to be a traitor and be unmasked?” Luyren asked, pushing his glasses up on his nose, which he had the prudence to remove before the fights.
“The risk is be under control. Ruhm knows how to defend himself and Yiris will be there in case of problem ... Moreover, it’s she who will take command between Arzas and the fortress of Metel and Mayek will oversee the other half of the journey.”
“This trip promises to be interesting.” Luyren said with a smile shared by Hylden.

Mayek didn’t contest the royal decision. For her part, Yiris not thinking about the convoy, but what would happen to Alexandre ...
At the end of the meeting, Meinmet noticed that the young general she was taking time to return to her supervisory post.

“Well, not want to work Yiris?”
“I don’t consider the surveillance of ghosts as a work but most as a drudgery!”
“I think it's more complex.”

Yiris stopped and watched, intrigued, the old man smiled at her.

“Decidedly, my life interests you!”
“What makes you say that?” Meinmet replied mischievously.
“Hylden told me about your little discussion.”
“Would have he said too much?”
“He knows everything which be useful to know ...”
“Please let me tell you that if I would have had a daughter,” the old man said with a smile, “I use to want she was determined and honest as you!”
“And you, you look like my Dad!” Yiris replied with an unusual emotion.

Yiris spoke briefly about her father, a professor with whom she was very happy, unlike her mother whose attitude often pushed to isolate herself to be lonely in a hidden corner in order to be quiet.

“This will seem funny, but I think we have many things in common. We tried to escape from something, and we finally escaped it against our will, even if the price was heavy.”
“What do you want to say?”
“I think we are never caught by a pillar of light accidentally, it will have a will!”

Feeling deeply uncomfortable, Yiris stopped her walk and looked up at the ceiling.

“I would like the answer to this question should be so simple ...” She said. “Whether, if I wanted to run away, I find the price paid disproportionate. This Hitomi experienced the torments of war, you have lost the right to see again your brother, but me, I lost much more ... It is the same for Constantin ...”
“This is only a hypothesis, but maybe did you have paid the price of something else?”

On the other side of the court, Hitomi suddenly turned to the general and the old Prince.
A vision …
Yiris, wearing a ceremonial robe edged with fur, sitting on steps ...
Stunned, Hitomi shook her head. It was the first time since years ago, she saw something so precise.

Suddenly, she had another vision, herself in the dark, facing Yiris. Behind this one, all sorts of blurred images scrolled.

“Now, it’s enough, no one is allowed to watch in my mind!” The general said aggressively.

Taking by sharp pain at the temples, Hitomi was nearly fainted. She turned towards Yiris, this latter gave her a furious look.

Meinmet, who had watched the scene hadn't understood. But he twas sure he had perceived a brief interaction between the minds of two young women.

Annoyed, Yiris hastened his steps. Meinmet followed her but didn’t dare to continue the conversation.
For her part, Hitomi was in bad shape. Some servants saw her ill, hastened to take her to a shady spot to sit and to bring her some water.
Quickly, Merle came to her.

“What happened ?”
“I think I have difficulties with your climate ... All that sun and that warmth ...”
“If you say so …”

OoO

Warned of Hitomi's discomfort, Van had left his army in order to join her.
To make her feel better, he offered her a walk in the gardens protected from the sun by the foliage of the trees and cooled by the small river that ran through them.

Leaning on the arm of the young man, she enjoyed this little jaunt. After a moment, walking in silence, Van decided to speak.

“Today, I make several important decisions and I have to tell you about!”
“Which ones?” Hitomi asked, slightly worried.
“First, I decided to confront Alexandre to Ruhm. I think it can help us to decide about his case.”
“You think this could provide answers?”
“I have no idea what Ruhm will conclude. We will decide after. Anyway, Yiris has the order to preserve the life of this man although it can cost to her as long as I don’t say the contrary. This leaves me time to think. I know that he can’t run away if he was unmasked.”
“Yiris …”
“It looks like it bothers you that she takes care of this matter ...”
“In fact, I don’t know why, but she scares me.”
“Yiris is as she is! Although she was from the same planet as you, she’s very different. However, she is a trusted person, I have total confidence in her.”
“And what about her brother?”
“About him, I’m more perplexed. However, he’s a highly efficient bodyguard.”
“Is it reasonable to entrust your life to someone whom you distrust?”
“Don’t worry! Without boasting too much, if Constantin is stronger than most of people, he has no chance against me or against her sister.”
“Nevertheless, I don’t feel you safe.”
“Concerning Yiris and Constantin ?”
“Yiris, I don’t know ... There is something disturbing that emanates from her. Constantin he really scares me.”
“I understand … But don’t worry about me, I always stay onmy guard! ” The King said with a smile.

Their steps led them to a small kiosk built on stilts overlooking a pond. Hitomi sat down on the railing and closed her eyes in order to better enjoy the coolness of the surrounding forest.

Facing the young woman, Van stared at her tenderly.

“I also wanted to tell you something else ...”
“What?” She asked, puzzled.
“About ... last night ... I confirm what I said. You have all the time you need to make your choice, but, you will have to understand that I am determined to do everything in order to keep you near me.”

Hitomi remained silent, the subject seemed very delicate to her.

“Let us say that, Van explained, a little embarrassed, already, if you choose to stay in Fanelia, you will have to know that you wouldn’t be monopolized by any official duty. If you want to invest yourself in something, you will be free to do what you want at your own pace... ”

The young woman puts her hands on her knees and breathed deeply before speaking.

“Thank you... There, I admit that I still have difficulty in deciding what I want and ...”
“I understand what you're gonna say, you're worried about your family.”
“Yes, I would really be able to reassuring my parents ...”
“On this point, I think I can help you.” He said removing the pendant from his neck. “Write them a message and I'm sure it will go where it has to!”

Hitomi touch with fingertips her pendant stone, remembering how the diary of Allen's father had joined his house. So the idea of Van appeared excellent to her.

Then he led her into the library. And there, for the first time, the young woman made use of a feather to write.

A long time, she remained blocked on writing the first lines. How to explain the situation ... After a long thinking, she chose to do the most simple.

“Dear Mama, dear Papa,

Don’t worry about me. Everything that happens to me would be too long to explain, but know that I'm fine and safe!

Take care of yourself and Mamoru,

I'm sending you a lot of kisses,

Hitomi”

Before sending the message, the young woman had the idea to go get something in her room.
It was her watch. She had already it during her first trip to Gaea, but this time, she wanted to forget the hours.

Knowing that this object gift from her father for her ten years anniversary, would be immediately recognized by her family, she let the message go away with it.
And for that, she just have to put the pendant on it. The piece of paper and the watch found themselves surrounded by a halo of light before disappearing.

OoO

When Aya Kanzaki got up that morning, she noticed as soon as descending the stairs the presence of something on her kitchen table.

However, she was sure they had washed it the day before, Mamoru had gone to sleep at a friend's house and her husband was on duty at the hospital for a further hour, so where could it come from?
A little hesitant, she approached and then she recognized the watch of her daughter. She turned her head around, Hitomi wasn’t there.

Then she unfolded the sheet and read the message. A few tears fell on her cheeks.

“So, Sweetie, you're returned to the mysterious world where your grandmother had gone a long time ago ... I hope you will find happiness there ...”

OoO

At Fanelia, the following days, Hitomi was the center of the attention, even more than usual. Van had reserved for her all his evenings.

The rest of the time, she was learning various strange games companies with Merle or going fun in the workshop of inventions where Meinmet was working, assisted by Alexandre.
The presence of this latter supposing most of time that of Yiris, Hitomi wasn’t very comfortable ...

What was certain is that the young woman was living her best summer. Every evening, she discussed for hours with Van.
This he had even learned her the basics of reading of many languages of Gaea and enjoyed making her read all sorts of fantastic stories.

And then, there were these moments together, as alone in the world. Hitomi had learned to know the body of her lover and Van to hold his ardor.
Thus, they share tender and torrid nights.

This situation fed the gossips of Fanelia. People sometimes amused themselves by create a parallel with the duet Yiris/Alexandre who personified a mismatched couple perfectly.
Mrs General and Mr Ghost were the subject of many taunts.

It must be said that their totally forced cohabitation becomes hard to bear.
Yiris had no good manners, grumbled all day and Alexandre didn’t dare to speak her fearing of receive a strike of stick, although up to now, she had been limited to threat ...

Hylden either didn’t appreciate the improvised household. Although he didn’t acknowledge it publicly, he tended to consider Yiris as his and their long discussions at night, lying on the roof of the palace, lacked.
Moreover, he endured less and less his wife, who never missed an opportunity to make him an unpleasant remark…

Tired, Hylden was hoped a new scandal of Constantine to the brothel to have a conversation with Yiris...
About the famous Constantin, he had calmed down. Always alcoholic, he had taken up residence in the empty official residence of his sister when he was not on duty.
Retailers of hallucinogenic substance and girls of easy virtue strolling through the corridors at night, to the great despair of the palace staff.

The King had nevertheless made a reprimand, but Constantine had just come his bad company by most discreet locations. Knowing the behaviour of the young man, Van had finally decided to leave him alone, preferring know him in an apartment that seen him wandering the streets looking for a fight.

Sometimes he wondered why he kept this sinister individual to his service, the remark of Hitomi had made him thinking about.

But just as crazy and slanderous he was, Constantin was a significant deterrent force against a possible attack on the person of the King and his rare interventions had been very efficient ...

OoO

That morning, a wolf-man on horseback arrived at the court, he was eagerly awaited. On this occasion, he was received in the Throne room.
Van sat on a pedestal, while at the lower level, on his right, the generals stood in armors. Hitomi, for her part, was sitting in the alley, which was a great privilege in the royal protocol. Indeed, only her and Meinmet have this distinction, all other were standing.

“Your Majesty, Lord of the forest protected by the dragons, I come to you from my Master Ruhm, who salutes you and wishes you happiness and prosperity” The visitor said bowing.
“Ruhm has finally chosen a date for the convoy?”
“Surely my Lord, this one is almost ready and it will be important.”
“Is the current supervision adequate?”
“We think so, several guards from the surrounding villages came to help us. We have prepared several barriers of surveillance with scouts. Your precious cargo of energist is safe at Arzas.”

In the great room, a little aside caused its effect in the military ranks.

“My scouts idea isn't so bad! Isn’t it, Mayek?”

The general grunted while all those who had heard the remark weregiggling. Furious, Van turned briefly to his soldiers.
Sometimes, he thought his generals were dismaying with their small quarrels ...

“Ruhm has also read my other request?” The King continued.
“Yes, he’s waiting for the man in question.”
“Well! Please tell him that the escort convoy will leave the city tomorrow. So, it will arrive the next day at Arzas.”
“Right, Your Majesty! I'll return back as soon I can in order to finalize the preparation.”

Thereupon, the wolf-man tleft. Van leaned his head to the back of his throne before resuming.

“Well! As we anticipated this operation for a long time, the army will leave tomorrow. It will be composed of soldiers from the sections of Skull and Defense. I let to Yiris and Mayek the task to choose their men.
From Fanelia to the night step in Metel, the command will be ensured by Mayek, which will remain at the fortress in order to restore some order because I learned that derelictions of duty multiplied.
The day after,Yiris will continue to Arzas and leads the convoy on the route to its destination and then the first part of the return. As is, everyone can see the limits of her method in practice.However, I remind you that this is not a game. The recent attack shows the violence of the enemy, so be on your guard.
This charge is precious, as the lives of our soldiers !”

This declaration finished, Van stood up and left the room. On his way, all bowed except Hitomi who, not knowing the protocol, kept her head up, which make the young King smile.

OoO

The rest of the day was entirely devoted to preparations for the escort. Van had to manage the continuing disputes between Mayet and Yiris who, as always, were struggling to cooperate.

By the side of Merle, Hitomi watched with fascination troop movements. The cat-woman explained her the basics of operations of the army.
For his part, Alexandre had a lump in his throat. Meinmet realized that his protege arrived at a crucial deadline.

“How do you feel?”
“Very bad is an euphemism ...”
“What are you afraid of?”
“I don’t know, but the confrontation with this Ruhm anguish me.”
“The fear of knowing who you are ...”
“And that of what will happen to me ...”
“You should trust Yiris on that point!”
“I cannot because if she has to kill me, she will.”
“If I were you, I wouldn’t be so categorical.”
“Really?” Alexandre exclaimed, intrigued.
“I learned an amazing thing: as what we know about her, Yiris never killed by her hands. Strange for a soldier ...”
“There he was something normal with her?”
“Great question!” Meinmet said amused.

The two men continued their walk through the barracks in silence. Suddenly, passing near a weapon crate, Alexandre grabbed a sword without thinking and started to manipulate it.

Those who witnessed this fact remain speechless. The young man seemed surprisingly well handled the instrument, passing it from one hand to the other.
Again, clearly, he was experiencing a form of trance. And it was the smash of a stick brutally hitting the ground that brought him back to reality.

“Hey ghost, what are you playing?” Yiris said, angry.

Shaking his head briefly, Alexandre immediately threw the sword on the ground, saying nothing.

“I guess again, it came instinctively...”

The young man didn’t answer. Annoyed the general stooped, picked up the sword and carefully taking it by the flat of the blade, handed it to Alexandre.

“In this barracks, there are more than a thousand soldiers. If necessary, they could intervene. You want to play swordsman, OK! I will be your opponent!”

Haymlar was about to interpose. By a gesture of the hand, Yiris clearly beckoned him to shut up.
Meinmet was worried, but the exchange whispered between the second and the help of camp of the general reassured him a little.

“Yrkas, go quickly look for the King, I feel it could escalate.”

Immediately, the soldier left the room.

Meanwhile, Alexandre and Yiris always faced. To everyone's surprise, the young man finally grasp the sword.

His gaze went cold, he squeezes his hand on the handle and held the blade perpendicularly to face him. Amused, Yiris stepped back a little.
She knew it was an invitation to hit the first and she couldn't refuse.

Putting her stick diagonally, she rushed at Alexandre. The scrap of wood met the blade glided sideways to lock onto the guard without the young man was moving an inch.

General amazement, Yiris including, but she didn’t let it appear. Abandoning her usual flights, she just hit with force.

After only three further weapons passes, Van came and interrupted the confrontation:

“Stop immediately!”

Both fighters stepped aside.

“Throw your weapons!”

Immediately, Alexandre follow the order. Yiris just lowered the arm holding her stick, putting clearly in the rest position.

“I said, “Throw your weapons!””

Deeply annoyed, the young woman finally obeyed. Bending knees, she put her stick on the ground with a surprising delicacy.
Pleased of seeing her compliance, Van continued:

“Yiris, I presume you felt again the need to have fun. I've had enough of your provocations! I charged you to watch over this man, not to use him to let off steam! This time it’s the last warning before being placed under arrest! Clear?”
“Yes, Your Majesty!” The interested replied, nodding.
“Good ! Don’t disappoint me … Otherwise, resumed the Sovereign, you, Alexandre, I forbid you to touch a weapon again. Anyone has now order to neutralize you immediately if you would again! I hope for you too, it's clear!”

The young man nodded positively. Then, watching with an icy look around him, the King made curious people to understand that the show was over and they had to hurry back to go at their occupations.

A few steps away, Hitomi watched Alexandre and Yiris. Her gaze lingered especially on the sheath she held at her side. It was the sword of Folken. The same one who killed the young man.

Hitomi had heard about this story that the general would have retrieved the famous blade, but now this details took another dimension.

A vision, as if the young woman attended the meeting of Folken and Yiris in the ruins of Fanelia ...
Then Hitomi saw that the general holding something close to her heart, like a treasure hidden in a fabric purse: the piece of blade that killed Folken, still bloodstained.
At this moment, no doubt, this sword was the key to everything ...

Chapter Text

Their last dream

Fanfiction by Andromeda Mavros
http://www.hananokaze.org

Rating / Classement [+18]

First published in French on December 6th 2011
First published in English on November 15th 2016

Chapter 12

The longtime friends

 

Disclaimer: The universe of The Vision Of Escaflowne belongs to Shoji Kawamori and the studio Sunrise, I'm just borrowing it for this story.
Except for a few characters and places that I created for the occasion.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

 

Never the fortress of Metel had appeared so distant to the soldiers. The convoy to Arzas was not the most cheerful.

Between the fear of an attack and the constant disputes of Mayek and Yiris, each one dreamed of calm and security. Alexandre was the alone to wish that this journey didn’t stop, as he feared the end.

Before leaving, Meinmet had spent an hour to preach him making the promise to always remain concentrated.
The old man had difficulty to hide that the dispute of his protege with Yiris had probably caused him the fear of his life.

Not knowing what had happen to him, as in the case of the melef, Alexandre was only able to promise to do everything he could, without any guarantee that no incident would occur again.

Seated in the nacelle of a giant buffalo, he followed with a distracted ear the debates between the generals.

In fact, at first, limped facing Alexandre, Yiris couldn’t help her descending to argue with her colleague, borrowing the horse of a soldier who had understood nothing of what has happened to him.

Alexandre hadn’t shown it too much but he had been relieved that this face-to-face was over. However, on the other hand, he found himself again lost in his interminable reflections.
All these new faces, these information, he felt that he had all the elements, but, yet, the truth always seemed to stand before him, hidden behind an opaque fabric.
Suddenly, the disillusioned voice of the coachman of the buffalo took him out of his meditation.

“You don’t find that Yiris and Mayek are two big kids?”
“It's a fact... It's hard to believe they're generals!” Confirmed Alexandre.
“And each travel, it's the same. Since the reformation of the army, these two spend their time to squabble ... This time, they did not even take their seconds, in order to be able to dispute without being interrupted, no luck! ”

Hearing this, the passenger couldn’t help him letting a little laugh escape.

“Where you are,” the coachman resumed, “you don’t hear the gossip, but I can assure you are actually considered as the most unhappy man of Fanelia!”
“Really?”
“Yes, obviously, we talk a lot about your appearance, but especially everyone complains you have to bear Yiris all day. The rumor of your little confrontation has spread throughout the city, there are not many who dare to stand up to her ... ”
“You know, I don’t think she's so terrible ...”

As he said these words, Alexandre smiled. His cohabitation with the general wasn't exactly a restful. She shouted, had any manners, and above all, she snored to cross the walls!

“It was you who said that!” His interlocutor said, laughing. “In any case, her reputation is well established. You know she had built a nice patrimony with her duels?”
“What do you mean?”
“Before the final appointment of generals, tribal leaders loved to provoke themselves, and soon it turned out badly, they began to bet goods ... That's how Yiris picked up a barely open brothel. At the time, this had been the subject of all gossip.”
“She has a brothel?” Alexandre said, disturbed.
“Yes, this is also the sister of his second who is the madam. It is a well-filled and maintained establishment. It attracts a good clientele, well, except when Constantin goes there.
However, the girls are all about twenty years old and no small damsels, only experienced ... Some will say that it’s a lack.
Finally, the person is special ... Her little love affair with Hylden, it also set the mood.”

A brothel, a personal affair with a married man, all for a woman, the first of Gaea to reach the rank of general, this was a lot.

Alexandre was more and more intrigued by the personality of his bodyguard.

“What you know about this story with Hylden?”
“Honestly, what the rumors say, it’s anythingand everything!” The coachman answered. “But in my humble opinion, they don’t just talk about war strategy when they're together ... In any case, the wife of the general, Kyria, has only one dream, get rid of Yiris!”

Yiris and Hylden, here is a strange couple. Alexandre had already noticed the existence of a link stronger between the two one than other working in the army. However, if the young general sometimes had equivocal glances at his colleague, he had never seemed to receive the same from this latter.

Otherwise, he saw nothing strange. And anyway, it didn’t interest him.
Alexandre laughed alone. People's ability to slander a person who came out of normalcy didn't surprise him, as if he had known that ...

He realized how he felt empty. Since he had opened his eyes in this forest, a part of him was missing, and without this, he felt himself unable to having opinions.

It was as if what constituted him as a person was incomplete.

For ten years on Earth, he had been content to let himself go, to follow the movement, to obey. He hadn't even really reacted at Meinmet's crazy story of back home. The pillar of light had just surprised him.

He seemed not to feel the fear ...

But what exactly did he feel? Perhaps nothing, apart from the tenacious feelings of “deja vu” that he had know since his arrival on Gaea.
He often thought about the man to whom he resembled, this Folken, and searched points in common with him, except the physical, but all was in vain ...

The encounter with that wolf-man of whom he had been so much talked about would perhaps be a deliverance. But, lucid, Alexandre had also considered the possibility of being declared monster and then purely and simply executed.
And even faced with this eventuality, he remained calm. Even the desire to live, he didn’t have it ...

Finally, the thing he wanted was that comedy ended. Faced with a Meinmet overflowing with enthusiasm despite his age, he found his existence useless, so the alternative between finding a meaning of this live and die seemed to him the right one.

OoO

One valley ended, another followed. The transition between the two was a plain on which meandered a river. To keep this strategic point, at the top of a hill, stood a small fortified town, dominated by a rather imposing citadel : Metel.
The night was falling, the convoy had arrived in time.
First part of the journey ended without problems, theoretically, the troubles would start here.
The great door of Metel opened. The guard towers which surrounded it were all empty and the mechanism of the door had some failures ...
Concerning the overall state of the city, it was deplorable: the houses were damaged, the roads paved broken, and the dominant castle had a tower which seemed to stand up only by miracle.

Feeling undoubtedly in a hot seat, the governor, a little chubby, who concealed his baldness under a colorful turban, came to greet the travelers with all the condescension he was capable of.

“My lords, I am very honored to receive you in my humble fortress.” He said, bowing to the ground.
“Humble fortress” isn’t the word I would use?” Mayek replied, going down from the horse. “I would choose instead the term “ruin”.”

This time, no doubt, the plump man was going to live a very bad time.

“We're all here for the night, as you know. Tomorrow, a part of the convoy will leave to join Arzas. As for you and I, we shall have time to discuss about the condition of your fortress. I look forward to hearing your arguments to justify this disaster!”

Unable to answer, Metel's chief almost trembled. It was obvious that a good meal would not solve his problem.

Nevertheless, to make the best of a bad job, the governor showed himself syrupy with his guest, who, for his part, remained insensitive to all flattery, much more attentive to all the breaches which he observed.

Yiris had this lapidary sentence:
“For once, I agree with Mayek”

Those words further panicked the soldiers of the fortress.

The members of the convoy were now quiet. They were finally going to see a good correcting.

Given the seriousness of the situation, Mayek probably wouldn’t ask them to repair, in order to give a good lesson to the local garrison.

OoO

At Fanelia, Hitomi was thinking. She had get up in the middle of the night and remained motionless looking out of the window. Not feeling her presence by turning into the bed, Van awoke and saw her companion pensive in front of the moonlight.

“Something is wrong?”
“I don’t know, I have a strange feeling ... I am sure something will happen, something important, but I am unable to say what ...”
“I understand ... Exactly the kind of situation you didn’t want to live again ...”
“Yes, from the moment I met Alexandre, I think I knew where I was going ... Our destiny is not all written, but I now thinking that some situations are imposed hardships.”
“And it's up to us to make the better decisions, right?”
“Exactly! Except that there, I only can suffer, what I sense is rather blurred. Since I arrived, I have confused and fuzzy feelings ... I had only one clear vision, but from the past ...”
“Ah? Of the past ... And of whom?”
“Folken and Yiris, I saw that they had briefly met in the ruins of Fanelia, and that the sword which she possessed was that of your brother. Meinmet had told me about, but I don't know why, this sword ... There is something it symbolizes, but I cannot identify what.”
“Yiris attached a great importance to this story. She, who is cold and not impressionable, supports with force to have seen the body of my brother come to life and smile to her ... She is still trembling when she speak about it, so I believe her to be sincere.”
“It’s impossible, at least in theory. Afterwards on Gaea ...”
“... nothing is surprising, is that? ”
“Yes! And what do you think about this sword?”
“Yiris never uses it. I don’t even know if she knows how to handle a blade. And she kept it as it was, broken ...”
“She watches over something ... As if keeping this sword, she kept the memory of Folken ...”
“Perhaps ... But what role could this sword play in this?”
“Unfortunately, I don’t know …” Hitomi sighed.

Van got up and took her in his arms. He was assailed by doubt too, he expected much from the confrontation of Alexandre and Ruhm, but he feared it just too.
So, the question of Hitomi put him in trouble.

“And what do you plan to do with Alexandre after all this?”
“I don’t know, I’m totally conditioned to what Ruhm will say. He knew my brother better than anyone. However, at the same time, I'm afraid that he can ot give us concrete answers.
What is certain is that in the present state of things, I'm dealing with a potential enemy, and his familiar face must not prevent vigilance, contrariwise.”

Hitomi didn’t answer. Van was not wrong. So, she was more worried about Alexandre's fate.

She, who understood well the people, hadn’t felt obscure things emanating from him, just a resigned sadness ...

OoO

For his part, Alexandre didn’t sleep either. He thought only to the next day, his meeting with Ruhm, and what would follow.
Sitting on the edge of the window of his room, beside Yiris, not disposed to sleep too, he watched the spectacle of the soldiers of Metel who had to perform repairs and maintenance, even if it was night.
Mayek had already given a pleiad of orders and no respite to execute them ...

The other members of the convoy, meanwhile, slept soundly, even if the next day's journey promised to be stressful.
The forest of dragons was obscure, with its gigantic trees, in some places, their foliage completely obscured the sky ...

But this road was the only one allowing access to Arzas with a heavy load, impossible to take the narrow gorges with an entire army.

Besides, in spite of the immense gain of time, the soldiers avoided this route because of the dizzying void that surrounded it. Only the wolves, accustomed to such an environment, traversed it without fear.

At sunrise, the men of Yiris prepared for the last part of the expedition.
Before letting her go, Mayek wanted to speak with her about few final remarks.

“So, ready to test your technique? Do you really believe in it?”
“Yes, I will already send a group ahead. Each one has a horn of fog, they can quickly give the alarm. And then, in case of problem, I have your big troop to face the danger! In my mind, not be caught off guard will be an advantage ... However, the ideal would obviously be to not have to face an attack!”

In ordinary times, the general wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to make a cynical remark to his colleague, but here, things were different. He was also afraid of the mysterious commandos who had not yet left any witnesses.

“It only remains for me to wish you a good journey! Hoping also that you have answers with your mystery man.”
“Thank you! I'll need it ...”

With these words, Yiris proceeded to the convoy and mounted a horse to put herself in the head.
Alexandre, for his part, had returned to the nacelle of a buffalo. He had difficulty to repres tremors of anxiety, not because of the risks of attacks, but rather at the idea of his meeting with the leader of the wolf-men ...

Again, the trip seemed endless to the troops, but, finally, it was quiet. No incident, no suspicion of enemy presence, nothing to report.
As night fell on the thick forest, making it even scariest, the convoy reached a stele of stone and stopped.
Yiris got down from her horse and ordered everyone to keep their position. She walked a few steps behind the stele and began to scream.

“Hey wolves, we are here!”

No reaction, but only in appearance, because quickly, the members of the troop felt encircled and began to panic.
A silhouette emerged from the darkness in front of the young woman.

It was an immense wolf-man wearing a purple toga with a black mantle and a necklace decorated with sharp teeth. His brown eyes gave him a look that seemed to pierce the soul.

Yiris was absolutely not destabilized.

“Good evening Ruhm, always the sense of welcome as what I see!”
“Hail to you, Yiris!” He replied in a deep, calm voice. “I see you're still cynical, so I guess you're fine.”
“Indeed, thank you for worrying. Are things all right in your territory?”
“This place far from the other populations has the art of being sheltered from the storms of the outside world, even if the wind still doesn’t stop to bring back to us the dust containing the worries of Gaea.”
“Well, it’s the better if we can be quiet tonight! Are the goods ready?”
“Yes, it only remains to harness the buffalos. Meanwhile, your men can establish their encampment at the feet of the sacred trees beyond this stele, people will come to bring them food!”
“Thank you ! What about the other case?”
“Don’t worry ! Go to rest with your troop, I will take care of it.”

Ruhm left Yiris and advanced towards the buffalo where Alexandre was. This latter looked attentively at the wolf-man.
It seemed to him that his gaze was reading in him, and he still felt this blurred impression of “deja vu”.

“You, come with me!” The chief of the village said, smiling.

Without a word, Alexandre obeyed and descended from the nacelle to follow Ruhm. Both passed near Yiris. The wolf-man scored a stop.

“I ask you to believe in me. You know the power of instinct, trust the mine!”

Perplexed, the general let them go, silent but with a heavy heart.

OoO

The few steps, then the climb of the ladder leading to the cabin of Ruhm seemed interminable to Alexandre.

When, at the invitation of his host, he sat on a cushion facing a small brick fireplace in the center of the home.
At this moment, he wished to evaporate in the air as he was anxious.

Ruhm settled down on the other side of the fire, facing him. A serene presence emanated from him which tended to reassure the young man.

With a soft, calm voice the wolf-man began to speak.

“You were born on the seventeenth day of the Purple Moon. The hazard wanted it to be the same day as me and our fathers celebrated it worthily. This link of birth made us close despite the distance.
We considered ourselves as brothers, very different in appearance, me, a wolf-man, you, an human half-descendant of the Dragon God People, with all the distinctive signs of this people.
I remember your joy, the day you told me you had a little brother, and that this one looked “normal”, because your appearance was a burden.”

Without a word, Alexandre listened, the words echoed in him. No pictures, but sensations, and some distant voices.

Attentive to the disturbing of his guest, Ruhm continued his narrative.

“Your other burden was your destiny of King. The warrior hierarchy of Fanelia displeased you deeply. If you enjoyed knowing how to handle a sword as a distraction, the fact to have to kill with disgusted you deeply.
If your father took the time to discuss about it with you and listened to your opinion, while trying to convince you of the importance of traditions and the need to know how to defend oneself and be respected, it was not the case of Balgus.
After the death of your father, this latter dealt with the management of current affairs and finished preparing you to your future role as King.
The least we can say is that you didn’t bear each other. Besides, very soon, tired of his interminable speeches to which you didn’t adhere, you ended up finding occupations not honorable like to take advantage of the company of all the young girls who were swooning in front of you ...
Nevertheless, you have never abandoned your little brother, trying to inculcate your values and protect him.
I remember the last time I spoke to you before your dragon hunt.
You thought that once this work was done, you would have the ability to change the things, but destiny decided otherwise.
For me, it has always been obvious that you were alive somewhere. I wondered a lot about the reasons for your disappearance.
Years passed, war came, and I was surprised to know your name related to that of the Zaibach Empire. I didn’t understand how you could have changed at this point.
But by meeting you in the ruins of Fanelia where I sensed your presence, I understood that you hadn't changed your opinions, you had been tempted by unsavory methods.
I remember that when I arrived, you were talking to Yiris, who was in charge of guarding the ruins of the city that night.
You were highlighting the paradox of a warrior just armed with a stick, but you told her you appreciated her reasoning that the stick was originally devoted to defense when the sword hurt at blood with a simple gesture. Nevertheless, you suggested to her to consider the swords differently, promising then to give her your sword when you would no longer need it.”

For a moment, Alexandre had a clear image, a flash of the past, the scene described appeared a few seconds in his mind.

Again, Ruhm decided to continue his monologue, despite the compulsive tremors of the young man.

“This day was the day of our last meeting. We talked about many things in friendship despite the circumstances. I remember greeting your brother and you before left.
A few months later, one evening, my heart tightened. I knew later that you had left your last breath at about this time. I cried my friend. I attended your funeral. Your brother wanted to get rid you of that metallic arm that symbolized your mistakes in order to you could rest in peace. You looked calm, so I hoped with all my heart that your soul had finally found the appeasement.
The words of Yiris that Master Van had told me, few people know what she saw. And then I thought that maybe there was one last injustice to repair.”

This time, the voice of the wolf-man betrayed a deep emotion.

“And in this day you are in front of me, different in certain points, but so recognizable. I am glad to see that the Gods are sometimes merciful with those whom life has afflicted, and I hope that this new chance will finally give you the opportunity to live according to your ideas and principles.”

Ruhm lowered his head to try to hide a tear, then raised and looked straight in the eyes of Alexandre.

“Welcome to your world, Folken!”

Still sitting, frozen but trembling, Alexandre was crying, he couldn’t help himself. He knew everything that had just been said to him, it was obvious, but ... There was still something missing, a piece to assemble this puzzle, to raise the veil of his truth.

Not adding anything to his story, Ruhm offered a bowl of tea to his guest and suggested him to sleep. Alexandre didn’t think it will be possible but quickly he began to yawn.
The wolf-man looked at him, amused, he had put a small potion in the drink.

“Rest, my friend, you will need it!”

Chapter Text

Their last dream

Fanfiction by Andromeda Mavros
http://www.hananokaze.org

Rating / Classement [+18]

First published in French on December 13th 2011
First published in English on November 18th 2016

Chapter 13

The danger from the mist

 

Disclaimer: The universe of The Vision Of Escaflowne belongs to Shoji Kawamori and the studio Sunrise, I'm just borrowing it for this story.
Except for a few characters and places that I created for the occasion.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

 

After a relatively quiet night, when the soldiers didn’t want to party because of the heavy darkness of the forest, the morning arrived too quickly for most of the men, who had not been able to sleep or lunch.

Yiris cursed himself internally. Obviously, she had overestimated the experience of the soldiers at her disposal. She awakened dismayed by the spectacle offered to her by the novices, nothing to do with her scouts who, fortunately, were the best.
Finally, she was not the type to rthink about what she hadn’t done, and would do what was possible with "her elite troop."

The convoy was about to move in the next few minutes. The wolf-men had brought the chariots of energist the day before, three in all, one for each buffalo which having accompanied the troops.

Yiris posted seventy men for the first and last chariot. The remaining sixty soldiers, who were in fact all veterans from her regiment and that of Mayek, were affiliated to the middle wagon with instructions to help the wagon which would be the most in difficulty in the case of an attack, which, if her instinct didn’t wasn’t wrong, would inevitably happen ...

This was a very substantial supply. In fact, the wolf-men sent only one cargo per year, at the end of the exploitation season.
It ended just before the hot season that made the career suffocating.
Then the delivery date depended on their will and, sometimes, if the people had rites to accomplish, the precious stones could wait a long time.

Not being particularly in need of it because the country was at peace, Van had always left a great freedom of decision to Ruhm.
Nevertheless, for once, he would be glad to see his cargo reach its destination.

Yiris supervised preparations with glances. Her gaze was fixed on the tree where Ruhm's hut was. Suddenly she saw movement. The wolf-man descended from his perch, followed by the human.

Arms crossed, the young woman wondered what the result of this meeting.

To see the two men approaching her, seemingly serene, she couldn't restrain a sigh of relief. All night long, she had feared a disaster intervention that had not finally happen.
However, all this anxiety, she had hidden it, although she had opened many times her eyes to look the tree where everything was going on.

“The meeting was very instructive.” Ruhm explained with a big smile.
“Ha?” Yiris replied, destabilized.
“Yes, you can tell Master Van that even I am unable to explain the origin of this miracle, I’m convinced that Alexandre is really Folken.”

Speechless, she stared at them, hoping a bad joke. Her mind became confused.

“And how do you deduce that?”
“We spoke and, observing him, my instinct gave me the answer.”
“It's quite confusing as a way to conclude!”
“According to you, probably, but my opinion is made!”

Yiris sighed nodding her head, she wondered seriously how she was going to explain Ruhm's answer to the King ...

In short, concerning this point, for her, nothing had changed. So, feeling a deep disappointment in front of the inertia of the situation, she chooses to focus on the convoys ...

Then, she looked at her men, making sure one last time that her orders had been respected.

Meanwhile, Alexander was preparing to take a seat in the nacelle of the buffalo. Ruhm gave him a friendly pat on the shoulder.

“The truth is close! Be sure, my friend!”

Rerplexed, the young man did not know what to answer. The arrival of Yiris interrupted his thoughts and he took a seat for the trip.

After an exchange of courtesy between the general and the leader of the wolfmen, Yiris also climbed into the nacelle.
Satisfied of the arrangement of the convoy, she gave the signal for the departure.

OoO

It had been several hours since the convoy had left Arzas. The first hour had been very stressful. Yiris had to reprimand, on three occasions, young recruits, thoses latters having believe that the passage of some wild animals was a sign of an attack and raised the alarm.

The troop had spent two hours on the road, protected by a group of wolf-men, whose, at the time of the separation, had told the three mens sanctioned to be wary of rabbits ...

Now the convoy was on its way alone.
According to the concept of Yiris, it was surrounded by four groups of scouts, one in front, one behind and one on each side. Every hour, each group sent a man to the report.

Also, they had a panoply of horns of fog to signal an imminent danger and to specify its nature.

Even if it annoyed her, the general had chosen to remain on the nacelle of a buffalo, accompanied by Alexandre. She was limped, with an air of vexation, in her armor, which clearly bothered her to be sitten comfortably, and didn’t say a word.

Alexandre, on the other hand, seemed lost in his thoughts and remained also silent, which created between them a heavy atmosphere just interrupted by the noises of the nacelle straps and the distant chatters of the soldiers.

Yiris was relieved by the arrival of the scouts because she needed to change her mind. She was not comfortable with Alexandre since the conversation with Ruhm.

In theory, everything should have to continue like this until Metel ...

In theory …

As the day began to decline and there was only one hour of travel left, a strange mist began to appear.

Several soldiers were stunned by the phenomenon which had already been reported by the last scouts.

Instinctively, they reinforced the taking of their weapons and the convoy was now to the maximum of its vigilance. A soldier finally climbs onto the nacelle to talk to Yiris.

“Chief, have you noticed? It's been over an hour, and we didn't see the scouts in the report ...”
“I know … They are surely already all dead. We are surrounded ...”

At these words the soldier, the coachman and Alexandre widened eyes, terrified.

“I felt them coming ...” The young woman said. “IBut objectively, I think they were following us from afar from the beginning. They are smart, they wait until the night falls ...”
“So what do we do?” The soldier asked.
“We stand ready. In any case, we will not escape it. Goal, resist as much as possible. After if it is lost, we must flee to Metel abandoning the goods. This time, we need witnesses, especially for this mist which, in my opinion, isn’t natural ...”

The soldier nodded and went to inform the rest of the convoy. A little hesitant, Alexandre turned to Yiris.

“And what to expect?”
“A massacre!”

Suddenly, the young woman stood up, she had seen something move in the trees. There no longer was any doubt.

“Protect yourself, we are attacked!”

She just had the time to cry out these words that a rain of arrows fell on the convoy, already causing many victims, including the coachman.

Yiris had put Alexandre on the ground and stood over the young man in order to protect him. The bursts of arrows followed rapidly, while the mist became thicker and thicker.

Still in the nacelle, particularly exposed and besides already riddled with projectiles, Yiris had to make a decision.

She had to admit that her plan had failed, however, there was still lives to save.

“Retreat!” She screamed.

A horn of fog made her echo briefly. Yiris looked at the soldier who was using it and saw a black-tinted tile emerge from the man's left orbit.
Fortunately, the signal had been heard and the soldiers began to run in all directions, abandoning the convoy.

Taking advantage of the disorder that had stopped the morbid ballet of the arrows, Yiris told Alexandre to jump out of the nacelle. The latter obeyed.

On the ground, the general thought for a few seconds, then took his protege by the arm.

“Now, follow me, run and never stop!”

Alexandre had no time to say anything. Yiris led him through the forest, as fast as she could ...

Breathing heavily, she turned around occasionally and understood with anxiety that they were followed by a group of men leaping from tree to tree behind them.

“And shit, they don’t look like being amateurs!”
“What do you mean?” Alexandre asked, breathless.
“Well, they ...”

She didn’t have time to finish her sentence, Alexandre had just stumbled and it took much effort to Yiris to prevent it from falling.
The general was about to shout him when she realized that he had just been struck by a crossbow tile on his left shoulder, fortunately, very high, just below the collarbone.

At first glance, she thought there was not too much damage, but there was no longer any doubt that their race would end very soon.
Alexandre finally collapsed. In spite of everything, she helped the young man get up and ordered him to continue.

“If you don’t move, you're dead! So, try to think about your survival, concentrate on that. You must forget that you are hurt, if not, you will soon have no more pain, and this forever! ”

Difficultly, Alexandre nodded that he understood. As best as she could, Yiris, embarrassed by her small size, tried to support him. Unfortunately, they not ran fast enough and would be caught soon.
She was now sure that shehave to fight.

A few moments later, little reflections began to appear between the trunks.

“The Great Lake of the West!” Yiris announced. “This time, we will not go further.”

With the energy of despair, she continued, seeing that Alexandre would be soon unable to walk. She had obviously underestimated his injury and he had already lost a lot of blood.

A few steps further, they reached the shores of the lake. Yiris immediately noticed a small peninsula with a tree and walked toward it.

Slowly, she seated Alexandre against the trunk, then broke the ends of the tile, but without daring to remove it, in case it touched an artery.

Then she withdrew her belt of canvas from under her armor and tried to tie this into a makeshift bandage. Alexandre was near fainting, she gave him a pat on the cheek.

“Hey! Above all don’t sleep! When we are hurt like this, sleep is dying! You understand?”

Taking his courage, the young man answered with a slight smile. He had no more strength and struggled in order to not let go.

Turning briefly, Yiris found the assailants, about fifteen, lined up along the shore, a few meters from her, as they were waiting.
No choice, one against fifteen. The young woman breathed deeply. She looked at the sheat and she decided to detach and give it to Alexandre.

“For you! We never know, it could be usefull!”
“Yes, but,” he said, in a feeble voice, “isn’t you who are going to need it?”
“Know, for your information, that I never use a sword!”
“So why do you have one?”
“To remember to return it to its owner. Besides, I think I've been too late ...”

With those words that left Alexandre puzzled, she stood up, her stick in her hand and walked toward the attackers.

They were all dressed in black and had their faces hidden, leaving only visible their hard, icy, determined gaze.

She observed that each had a small quiver and a small crossbow, much less bulky than an bow and more powerful and precise.
They also had two curved blade knives attached to the waist.

To this was added an impressive number of knives of spears where the blade acted as handle. No doubt, it was an army of assassins, particularly well equipped and trained.

The young woman quickly realized that the game started badly. One against one, only Van was stronger than her, and her brother resisted.
She had also won against five swordsmen, but here, the situation far exceeded her abilities.
However, she would have to face them.

To her astonishment, one of the men came out from the group and began to speak to her in an icy voice.

“You're not our goal. If you accept to die now, your death will be sweet and dignified. If you resist, you will also perish, but in terrible sufferings.”
”So, you see,” Yiris replied in a cynical tone, ”it will not be possible! Because first, I didn't want to die. Also, I swore to protect the man behind me. And frankly, where do you see dignity in cowardice?
I’m not like you, I dare to confront my opponent in front and not hiding me to launch tile on tile.”

The one who seemed to be the leader walked away in an icy, cruel laugh.

“You will not succeed to annoy us, woman. I love you well, that said, we have to kill your little protége and you too.”
“Why him in particular?”
“The deads don’t need answers.”

The man bowed his head, it was the signal. The assassins took out all their curved blades and rushed towards the general, who had only a quarter of a second to anticipate.

The first assault was extremely violent. Yiris succeeded several dodges and replied with precision. But, with her armor, her movements were too slow.
The assault ceased when she finally succeeded in putting one of her adversaries on the ground by a stroke on the temple which left the man unconscious.

“Fuck, they are fast and efficient.” She said to herself. “I'll have to use my reserves if I want to have a chance to survive ... They use a strategy by waves. That leaves me a little time to recover, but most of all, it gives them time to prepare for the next attack depending on the damage inflicted. If I keep this damn armor, I will fatigue faster because of its weight and, moreover, it slows me too much to be able to defend myself correctly. Never mind about the protection, I cannot just take the blows.”

After a few seconds of thinking, she pulled out herarmor in haste. She was now just in black trousers and tank top to face her opponents.
In order to be even more comfortablen, she also removed her boots.
A real suicide ...

“You like to fight lightly!” The chief of the enemies noticied, amused.
“Indeed, it's easier to move!” Yiris laughed before putting herself into fighting position.

The second assault began immediately. Finally freed from her burden, Yiris proved a much more formidable opponent, Which surprised the assailants who lost three of their own before breaking the confrontation.

The effectiveness of the young woman astonished the head of the troupe, he sent his able-bodied men without waiting.

Third assault, this time, no surprise effect and the fight lasted a few moments. Yiris succeeded in avoiding several mortal attacks and retaliated with the same precision.
However, she now had a big notch in the side and blood flowed in the corner of her lips.

Two clashes still passed, Yiris resisted, but more and more wounds came to cover her body. Feeling the imminent victory, the assassins had left her almost no moment of respite.
They were only seven against her. The general had been very efficient, although now It was hard for her to stand up.
Her black outfit was now soggy with blood, which gave it strange glowing reflections.

Alexandre watched the scene with anxiety. Seeing that she hardly catch her breath, he was aware that she couldn’t stand much longer.

Wanting to help her, he took the sword out of its sheath and noticed with surprise that it was missing one piece. In spite of great efforts, he was unable to get up. He remained only the spectator of this disproportionate fight.

The resistance of the young woman had initially pleased the enemies’s chief. He had always preferred when his prey defended itself.
That said, the hecatomb in his ranks now inspired him a deep annoyance.

“This fight lasted too long!” He said icy. “I offer as a reward to the one who put this woman on the ground the right to dispose of her body as he sees fit.”

Yiris trembled briefly. A bad memory passed through her mind, while the enemy soldiers began to talk to each other, commenting with interest on the possibility of giving “a good virile lesson” to a woman general.

Still a few seconds of calm, they rushed again on her. Drawing once more into her strength, she resisted but didn’t succeed into putting another adversary dawn.
When, at last, they left her, she vomited blood.

“Yiris!” Alexandre shouted with his remaining strength.

A poor little smile on her lips, she turned to face him, her face partly hidden by her blond hair stained with blood.
Then, standing , against all odds, she addressed her opponents in a quavering voice.

“I'm going to have to ... do something ... which disgust me ... To my great regret, I cannot kill you, but I can give you ... a good lesson ... It's just the method to use that ... I dislike ... I don’t like doing that ...”
“I'm looking forward to seeing your secret weapon!” The enemies’ chief said on mocking way which make laugh his men.

Yiris didn’t answer. She straightened up, still holding her stick firmly, closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. Strangely at that moment, the rain began to fall, washing the traces of blood on her mutilated body.

That's when it was covered with strange colored lines, like tattoos. Some superficial wounds closed spontaneously, like magic.

Seeing this, Alexandre and the enemies were all stupefied.

“You're a false-person, right?” The commander of the assailants said, disturbed. “There was a rumor about it, however ...”

The young woman's face took on a nightmare expression, accompanied by a petty laugh.

“Not quite ... But this is only a detail ...”

Yiris smiled, then it was she who threw herself on the still in condition warriors. Alexandre watched the fight, speechless.

The scene was unrealistic, she moved as fast as a tornado, dodging and striking in the same movement.
At any moment, she did have both feet on the ground at the same time. She avoided a shot in the throat of the chief of the assassins while pivoting to strike violently the knee of the assailant who was about to decapitate her.
A sickening crack echoed Yiris informed that the man's patella had just broken.

At that instant began that Alexandre described as a dance.
The fight accelerated again, now the young woman was sneaking between her assailants while continuing to hurt them.
A second man fell, followed very quickly by a third. Another attacked violently, the young woman dodged easily and her aggressor cut the groin of one of his comrades who collapsed while shouting as his life ended with the beating of his heart.

The combat ceased immediately.
The chief of the assassins was visibly distraught in front of what had just happened.
A decision was required and it was hard to make. The commander was faced with an big unforeseen incident.
The false-persons possessed an important power, varying according to the individual, but there his opponent seemed to be among the strongest.
He watched what remained of his troops: a third of unconscious, a third of wounded who still stood but could no longer fight, a third of able-bodied ... and one dead.
The defeat was there, he had to recognize it.

If they continued the fight, they could all be put out of action and being prisoners, which was out of the question.
The number of able-bodied ones made possible to evacuate the wounded and not have to abandon them by slitting to prevent them from speaking and then burning their bodies in order to not risk leaving clues.

With a sigh, he spoke to his winner.

“You won, right! But know, whatever you think, my account will be considered seriously. I haven’t the reputation of we an affabulator. The next time, we will get you opponents worthy of you!”

With this, he made a sign to his men to leave the place. Those who stood up picked up the seriouswounded as well as the corpse of their comrade and supported the others.
Some seconds after, nobody ...

Alexandre noticed that Yiris, still motionless with her stick, was beginning to waver. Suddenly, the young woman's face distorted. It became that of a wolf and raising her head, she howled at the moon.

Somewhere, a yellow eye opened, she had been heard.

After this call, she returned to her normal appearance, then turned to Alexander, still smiling.
With her left hand, she grabbed a small purse of fabric hidden in her bodice and whispered to the young man.

“For you!”

And she collapsed, soon surrounded by a bloody aureole.
Seeing this, Alexandre forced himself and, in a final appeal to his strength, raised, using the sword to support himself. Difficultly, he made the few steps that separated him from Yiris.
The rain was still falling, the ground was already soggy. He progressed painfully but ended up kneeling on the mud near the wounded woman.

He stroked her face, patted her cheeks, nothing to do, she was unconscious and his supplications wouldn’t change anything.
He wanted to scream to call for help. However, he was too afraid of being heard by enemies and bringing them back directly to them.
He tried to get up to search for help but realized that it was impossible. He had already taken several minutes to travel some stupid meters ...

Desperate, chilled by rain, not knowing what to do, he thought back to the small fabric purse. Gently, he loosened the left hand of the young woman to take it.

He opened it.

Inside, there was a blade tip, covered with dried blood. Instinctively, he took the sword that had been entrusted to him and brought the pieces together.

At the moment when the two ends joined together, forming a perfect assembly, the blood on it became liquid again, and a drop dripped on Alexandre's hand.

The contact froze the young man. His mind filled with a whirlwind of images, years of memories assailed him.

Unable to support this, he fainted too.

Chapter Text

Their last dream

Fanfiction by Andromeda Mavros
http://www.hananokaze.org

Rating / Classement [+18]

First published in French on December 27th 2011
First published in English on November 29th 2016

Chapter 14

The last resort

 

Disclaimer: The universe of The Vision Of Escaflowne belongs to Shoji Kawamori and the studio Sunrise, I'm just borrowing it for this story.
Except for a few characters and places that I created for the occasion.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

 

The small group had succeed in escaping. Now they had reached Metel.
Their strategy of fleeing heading perpendicularly to the goal and then rectifying the route had been a success.

They were safe and vision of this old stone piles at the edge of collapse brought them an huge solace.

Always on the alert, they traveled the last hundreds meters while remaining a maximum under cover. Night and rain were their allies.

Arrived at the foot of the door, they screamed:

“The convoy was attacked! You have to go to help them, quickly!”

Hearing them, the guards panicked. Then a small door was opened and they were put under guard in a tiny fortified room where, from an opening in the ceiling, archers stood ready.

It was more what they had lived that made them tremble less than the soldiers of the fortress.
Exhausted, they couldn’t help themselves laughing nervously at their unexpected salvation before, for some, begin to cry.

After checking their identities, the chief of the door invited them to rest in the warm.
At the same time, a rider had gone to the command post of the city to give the alarm.
Reactive, Mayek arrived only a few minutes later.

“What happened?”
“First, there was this strange mist ... then they attacked us ... the massacre ... ” A soldier replied, shivering in spite of the blankets which were given to him.”
“The massacre?” The general asked.
“They shot us like animals. In a few minutes, half of us collapsed on a real rain of arrows!” A second soldier explained.
“And the scouts didn’t launch the alarm?”
“Slaughtered too ... apparently all at the same time ...” The first clarified.

Mayek continued his interrogatory. The brutality of the assault was exceptional. Throughout his career, he had never heard of an organization so well made and fearsomely effective.
Now, he had to make a decision.

The enemies had already had ample time to recover their loot and disappear.
Also, it was possible that elsewhere in the forest, there remain scattered survivors to rescue.

Unfortunately, darkness and climatic conditions forced us to wait until the next day before could start the search.

Pensive, the graying general wondered what Yiris had done and where her protege was.

If someone had been able to come back to Metel, it should have been her ...

OoO

A cave, a chimney dug in the rock sheltered a fire that warmed the room while a thin curtain of coarse cloth closed the window, protecting as much as possible from the pouring rain.
Alexandre was lying on a cot near the fire, febrile. At his bedside, an old cat-woman, dressed in a white dress adorned with embroidered leaves, checked his pulse.
This done, she removed the wet cloths placed on the forehead of the wounded man to refresh them in a little water before putting them back.

On the other side of the bed, Yiris was sitting on a stool, wearing a little black dress adorned with a white jacket, covered with dark arabesques, tied by a belt dark too.

Visibly tired, her blond hair braided, she had many bandages and fresh sutures were visible on her face.
She gazed vacantly into space.

“Yiris”, the old lady said, “his condition is not better.”
“The fever?” The young woman asked, getting a grip on herself.
“No, it has gone down. The remedies were effective, it will quickly resolved. The problem is elsewhere.”
“But, Maya, you stopped the bleeding, right?”
“Yes, however, this is not the cause of his condition either. He suffers from small sharp tremors. I fear that he will eventually convulse because the drop in temperature hasn’t changed his general condition.”
“Maybe he’s cold now?”
“No, they are not chills, they are nervous tremors. I think his mind is suffering. Look at him, he makes all kinds of expressions. In my opinion, the poor man lives a real nightmare and cannot wake up.”

While Maya left the room, Yiris watched more closely the injured man.
Indeed, he seemed like a prisoner of a bad dream.

Until now, all attempts to make her regain consciousness had been in vain, she didn't know what to do.
A few moments, eyes closed, she crossed her hands in front of her head.
In a sort of trance, she realized a series of strange gestures before opening her eyes brutally.
A noise disturbed her.
Having failed, she shook her head with rage.

“Dirken wants to see you!” A dark voice at the entrance to the room said.
“Tell him to stay in his hole, I'm absolutely not in the mood!” The general replied curtly, annoyed.
“He insists on your commitment.”
“He's a real pain in the ass”

Visibly furious, Yiris stood up abruptly and walked towards her interlocutor.

It was a huge man, a real strength of nature, very muscular, she just reached the bottom of his stomach. The appearance of the individual was strange.
He was neither a man nor a wolf-man. Besides, his right eye white with blue iris was from a specy, the second, yellow with a black eye, from the other.

“I go down to see this poor guy ... Lekan, I entrust to you the supervision of the patient. If his condition changes, you warn me.”
“Right Master!” Assented the man, bowing. I “ must also remind you that we should advise Fanelia's command about the situation.”
“Later ... promised ...”

Crossing small corridors dug in the rock, Yiris sank into the depths of the troglodyte building, whose maze was illuminated by numerous torches.

This place, the fortress of Irini, was somehow her house. Despite the complexity of the plan, she found her way without difficulty.

This was where most of the members of the tribe of which she was the leader lived. It was a small people of gatherers who also harvested ore.
Most were cats people, but a few humans cohabited with them.
Sometimes, Yiris med the inhabitants who bowed in front of her, calling her Master. She smiled at them and kept moving forward on without saying a word. The path seemed more difficult than usual.

The battle in front of the lake had put her to the test, her wound in the stomach bothered her a lot.
The accumulated tiredness made difficult for her to stand up.

Last step, a long staircase that led to a grid. At the bottom, a light betrayed a presence.
A guard preceded the young woman and opened the door for her.

Sitting in front of a table with a game of chess, stood an old man with long white hair. Withhis badly trimmed beard, he showed a mean smile

“Not too early, I almost waited!”
“I had other things to do than to come play with you, Dirken!”
“You always promised me to come see me quickly when you are there ... I'm just disappointed ...” The man replied, miming an unhappy look.

At these words, Yiris grunted. She felt a furious desire to strike this man. Calming down, she sat down in front of him.
He seemed a little surprised that she didn't got really angry.

The game began, in silence. Each one defended himself rather well, but soon enough, Dirken inflicted a bad blow on Yiris by taking her Queen.

“Really, I love this game!” He said.
“Stop, I'm not in the mood. Finish me if you want, let it go quickly!”
“No, you taught me chess! I enjoy it.”
“Stop taunting me ...”
“How can a poor cripple disrespect you, O chief of Irini?” The man exclaimed, waving his right arm, visibly paralyzed, with his other hand.

Seeing him play so dubiously, the young woman sighed in annoyance.

“You have not finished!”
“Hey, aren’t you proud of your exploits now?”

Furious, Yiris stood up and sent waltzing the boardgame before violently put her hands on the table, facing Dirken.

“I didn’t kill you, I would not! But know that making years to come a hell is still possible!”

The man smiled. Of course, he was aware of his precarious position, but also of the limits of his adversary.

“Right! However I fulfill my role, I watch over your special bottle. I only ask for a game of chess on each visit in return, isn’t very much ...”

The young woman didn’t bother to answer. Instead, she called the guard to come and open her. Dirken watched her leave with a perfidious air, his little provocations were his revenge ...

“Don’t expect to get your Queen back when you come to finish the game!” He yelled while Yiris left the place.

Thus were the face-to-face meetings between the former torturer and his victim, knowing that the roles had since been reversed.

OoO

The day had just risen at Fanelia, Van was dressing. Hitomi was still sleeping, a blissful smile floating on her lips.

Suddenly some violent blows were struck at the door.

“Your Majesty, there has been a catastrophe!” Several men said at the same time.

Stunned, Van authorized them to enter his apartment, but after carefully closing the bedroom door.
Caught in the jump of the bed, Hylden, Haymlar, Luyren and Lokos, thin and shy little brown man, second of Mayek, looked distraught.

“My Lord,” the old general explained with difficulty, visibly breathless by his run, “we have just received a message from Mayek. The convoy was attacked on the way back to Metel, a dozen survivors returned to the fortress and they spoke about a massacre.”
“What do you mean? What happened?”
“We do not know yet.” Haymlar continued. “The group said have been assaulted less than an hour's drive from the fortress. The events occurred yesterday, at nightfall.”
“A large armed rescue expedition was sent by my general.” Lokos added. “We will have to wait for his report.”
“And Yiris? And Alexandre?” The King asked.

The men nodded negatively.

“No news ...” Hylden said, visibly worried.

Annoyed, Van made a sign to the soldiers to go out. Once alone, he let himself fall heavily into a chair.
Wrapped in a beautiful pink undress, Hitomi came to join him and crouched beside him, trying to catch his look.

“I heard ... I don’t know what to say ...” She whispered, trying to comfort him.
“There's nothing to say ... It's a heavy defeat ...”
“Can Yiris and Alexandre be safe?”
“Possible, but I dare not hope too much ...” The King sighed, fatalistic.

All this deeply anguished the young woman. She couldn’t help worrying about the fate of Alexandre with whom she had sympathized.

OoO

It took less than an hour for the bad news to go round the palace.
It was essentially the soldiers who were discussing about the drama between themselves. Haymlar and Yrkas were the most anxious.

“Hey, boss,” the little asked, “do you think that's why she asked us to stay there, because she felt that they were going to be massacred?”
“Don’t say bullshit, Mayek also left his subordinates here. And then, for the general, second or simple soldier, all the lives are precious! Above all, I think they wanted to argue quietly, knowing that in any case we wouldn't be more useful than a another soldier.”
“I feel bad there ...” Yrkas sighed. “You know the chief, she returns the world for us, and now, what can we do to help her?”
“Nothing ! We'll wait for the next news. And then, as far as to go, ask the believers soldiers to pray ...”

Sitting in a corner of his workshop, informed by a servant Meinmet was very worried, both for Alexandre and Yiris ...
The turn of events inspired him nothing good ... He trusted the young womanand her abilities to defend herself, but what he had heard about the adversaries didn’t reassure him.

In the midst of all this tumult, only Constantin remained almost impassive. He just showed a slightly annoyed face ...

OoO

After breathing a moment in the corridor to appease her anger, Yiris went up to take news of Alexandre.
Surprised, she crossed in a hallway a distraught young girl-cat who wass looking for her.

“There's a problem, Lili?” Yiris asked, worried
“Master, Master, it's awful. Your guest, he‘s convulsing ... Maya sent me to warn you!”

Hearing these words, the general followed the adolescent. She ran as fast as she could, no longer feeling her wounds, mad with anxiety.

When they reached the room, the old Lady was trying to administer a potion to the patient, suffering from violent shocks, while Lekan was trying to maintain him.

“Oh my God !” Yiris cried, clapsing her Orthodox cross pendant.

A few seconds, which seemed interminable, and Alexandre relaxed, falling like a disarticulated doll.

“This is a bad sign ...” Maya concluded.
“What happened?” Yiris asked.
“Nothing special, he was fine, a few seconds later the convulsions began. While he has no more fever.”
“It's crazy ... But now he’s going to be in better condition, right?”
“Impossible to be sure, sorry. What is certain is that if he mades others crises of this violence, my potion will no longer be sufficient and he could die ...”

Yiris approached the wounded man, took her hand, which she let drop, observing that this time the young man was into coma.

A few moments of thinking, she had to make a decision.

“Maya, you think that the problem is the chaos that would reign in his mind?”
“This seems to me the most realistic hypothesis. However, again, I cannot affirm anything ... His pathology exceeds the limits of my modest science ...”
“In this case, it’s necessary to know the truth ... Lekan, I will tell a message to you, you will transmit it by the way of howls to the capital.”
“Right! What is the content?” The man asked, bowing.
“Open the grave of Folken and clear the situation.”

Hearing it, Lili, the girl-cat, which had remained behind, was indignant.

“We never profane the graves! This is the worst sacrilege!”
“Shut up, Lili!” Maya said sternly. “We are not able to contest a decision of the Master.”
“But, grandmother ...”
“Silence!”

Puzzled, Yiris felt the need to justify herself. Indeed, she herself had difficulty in realizing the gravity of her words.

“Lili, Maya, Lekan, know that if I ask this, it’s because I’m now sure that this man is, in one way or another, Folken Fanel. In my opinion, opening the grave would give the answer. If, by the grace of God, life has been restored to him, the previous body should in theory no longer exist, a soul cannot have two different bodies ...”
“It’s an hypothesis based on an impossible fact!” Maya noticed.
“I know, but there, I need to believe in the impossible.” Yiris replied. “I need …”

The old Lady said nothing more, and Lekan went off to accomplish his mission, leaving Yiris to her thoughts.

Several tens of minutes of silence were interrupted by new convulsions.
The medications of Maya calmed them with difficulty.

“This time, she concluded, he will not support another crisis.”
“Right!” Yiris answered. “I will have to speed things up with my way ...”

OoO

At the palace of Fanelia, an echo of howls was heard, the wolf-man delegated to the reception of this type of communication didn’t believe his ears.
He ran as fast as he could in order to report to the King.

Tumbling in the Council Chamber where Van, his two generals present, the seconds of the absents, Meinmet, Hitomi and Merle were waiting for news, he took a deep breath before said his incredible message.

“Your Majesty ! I received a message from the caves of Irini, Yiris and Alexandre are alive, but ...”
“But?” Van interrogated with a bad feeling.
“Yiris made a request ... astonishing ...”
“Which?”
“Well ... She asked that you open your brother's grave to check if there is anything left of him ...”
“What?” The King replied, flabbergasted.

This demand, after having provoked general amazement, sowed doubt. Hitomi felt deeply uncomfortable, sensing something bad.

Before leaving, the wolf-man ended his transmission.

“It was also said that Alexandre was in bad condition, in a kind of delirium. Apparently, he has convulsed and is now in a coma ...”

This explanation made the situation more clear for Van more. He began to understand the reasoning of Yiris, and it didn’t inspire anything good.

Daring to ask for the profanation of a tomb, which was more royal, was a desperate gesture of the young woman.
Obviously, the King must oppose a refusal to this request.
But knowing the general, he knew that if she had the conviction that opening the tomb was the solution, she wouldn’t remain without an answered ...

OoO

Always seated at Alexandre's bedside, alone, Lekan guarding the door to avoid any visitor, Yiris finished her thought before speaking the wounded man.

“I don’t know whether, in the whirlwind in which you are, you hear my words, but I must confess myself before committing an act which will perhaps bring me to death.
You will be my witness, but you will not be alone, because another person must know to help me to get my answers.”

Slowly, the young woman swung her head, as if she was trying to relax her neck. Then she clenched her fists and again, the colorful signs typical of the false-persons covered her skin.

Curling up on herself, she put her elbows on her knees and made a series of manipulations with her fingers, before brutally opening her eyes, with completely dilated pupils.

At the same time, in Fanelia, Hitomi was paralyzed, her environment turned into a black world.
She lived a new vision.
Facing her, Yiris appeared, looking strangely fatalistic.

“I'm sorry, Miss Hitomi, I'll have to use you!”