Ancient VisionsPreviously: Ren and Linea hold of guards while Van and Hitomi try to sneak around to the back in order to enter the hangar. When they are about to suceed, Linea is killed by an unknown soldier. Van and Hitomi are swept up in another column of light.
chapter 14Was it all a dream? Or an illusion? No, it was real. Van shook the dust out of his hair as he raised himself off the ground. His mind was reeling. The death of Linea, the rushing back in time. He was somewhere now - somewhere cold and grassy. What was he supposed to do? His head was throbbing painfully. Putting one hand to his forehead, his scanned his surroundings. No sign of Hitomi. Van winced. His back hurt. Rubbing his back, he stood up. Where could she be? Looking around, he noticed several familiar items. A stone bench, a stone fountain, some neat trees. He was near the castle, near the back gardens! Van almost smiled. Yes, he thought, it was real. It must be all real. He and Hitomi were ancient ones - reborn. He shook his head in wonder. The young king suddenly spun in a circle, his eyes searching anxiously. Where was she? Squaring his shoulders, he turned resolutely towards the memorial and hurried in a loping run towards his brother's grave, where he knew escaflowne was waiting.
Hitomi opened her eyes slowly. She furrowed her eyebrows. It was dark. She was sprawled out on soft carpet. Lifting herself off the floor, Hitomi glanced around her. It seemed so familiar, so comfortable. She rose to her feet and padded towards the only light in the room, which came from a large window. The sudden brightness hurt her eyes momentarily before they adjusted. As her pupils became accustomed to the lighting of the room, she suddenly realized why it seemed so familiar. This desk, this wallhanging, that large window, the carpet, that crest on the wall - it all belonged to the study of -
"Familiar yet?" A low cold voice asked.
Hitomi froze, her blood suddenly running cold.
A tall, slim figure emerged from the shadows.
"I thought this would be an apropriate place to bring you."
"Newton," Hitomi breathed angrily, "Why-"
"Simple," he answered curtly,advancing slowly, "I know the boy will come here for you - I know this is the first place he will look- his own study!"
Hitomi backed away slowly. Newton smirked.
"Don't worry," he said dangerously, "I won't kill you yet - I need you for one thing more."
Hitomi shuddered, recalling the discovery she had made about Linea. Newton was regarding her thoughtfully.
"Silly little girl," he said spitefully, "Do really think you can defeat me?"
Hitomi edged backwards towards the study desk. She looked away from Newton.
Newton looked at her with little less than disgust. "You don't even know how to take advantage of the power of Atlantis. You don't even understand it's power!"
Hitomi remained silent.
"Poor little seeress," Newton chided in a mock fatherly tone, "Don't you realize what I am doing? I will make use of this power! I will change Gaea forever with it!"
Hitomi looked up sharply. "Is that what you think you should do?" she barked, "Change everything according to your wishes?"
Newton smiled condescendinly at her. "You're so shortsighted. Don't you see how this power could be used to control a population? One could refashion the way the world works!"
"Fool!" Hitomi cried suddenly, ancient anger welling up in her, "Don't you see the folly in that! That's the reason Atlantis burned! And the reason Dornkirk fell! They failed to realize the danger of that power!"
Newton smirked again. "Atlantis burned because I wished it to, remember Mia?"
Hitomi started. Mia? She blinked in confusion until she remembered. She was Mia, and Mia was her. Just as Linea was. They were one and the same woman - reborn into the world to fulfill wishes made by the power of Atlantis. A new energy surged within her.
"And of Dornkirk?" Hitomi asked forcefully.
Newton smiled. "So you regain some of your old spunk. And what of Dornkirk? He failed only because he was not able to harness the power. But he was on the right track. That's why I took his name."
Hitomi cocked her head to one side.
"Don't you know, one from the mystic moon? Dornkirk lived on Earth before coming to Gaea. He was a scientist. One interested in alchemey. His name on earth was Isaac, Issac Newton."
Hitomi furrowed her eyebrows, mulling over what he had just revealed.
"But," Newton said resolutely, "I have harnessed the power of Atlantis, and you cannot destroy me."
Hitomi squared her shoulders.
Newton laughed. "Thinking of it?" he asked, mocking, "Don't you remember what happened last time you tried?"
Hitomi closed her eyes, suddenly remembering the burning of Atlantis. "That was a selfish wish," she said under her breath.
"But an effective one. The city burned and you couldn't fly away from it," Newton countered with a cruel smile, "You wouldn't want Fanelia to go up in flames too, would you?"
"You already destroyed half of it!" hitomi retorted.
"Newton shrugged. "But what of the other half?"
Hitomi fairly shook with rage. She tightened her grip on the edge of Van's desk and closed her eyes tightly. Her right hand slipped across the surface of the desk subtly and her fingers closed around a decorative dagger. Hitomi looked up at Newton spitefully. His careless smirking angered her, and her fingers tightened around the hilt of the fancy, but sharp, dagger. A well of angry energy surged through her. She gave out a yell and rushed suddenly towards Newton, dagger raised. Newton watched coolly, reaching swiftly into the folds of his cloak. Snapping his wrist, he cracked a long silver whip in the air. The end of the whip wrapped around the dagger in Hitomi's hand. With a quick flick, the dagger went sailing across the room. Newton smirked softly. Hitomi, still overcome with her anger was still rushing barehanded towards him. He snapped the whip again. This time, the end wrapped around Hitomi's outstretched arm. Newton jerked his forearm backward, the whip lifting Hitomi off the ground and releasing her at the last moment. She flew into the back wall then sank to the floor. She lay at the foot of the wall, crumpled into a small huddle - barely conscious. Coolly and calmly, Newton strode nearer to the fallen girl, stopping only a few feet away from her. He placed the whip back into his cloak.
"Don't be a fool," he said softly, "You should have known better than that. You can't defeat me without sacrificing Fanelia."
Hitomi struggled to lift her head, a touch of arrogance in her weak gestures. "Sacrifices may be necessary," she whispered.
"You don't have the courage," Newton stated, "And besides, you don't think that's rash?"
Hitomi bowed her head, her heart filling with frustration. How can they free
Gaea from the shadow of Atlantis's mistakes. A soft whisper seeped into her
Your wishes will be the key to his defeat
Hitomi stared at the study carpet, a realization forming itself in her consciousness. Her eyes widened. Anxiety clutched at her. Was she brave enough?
Newton regarded her curiously, wondering what she was thinking. He was about to stride towards her again when a sudden crash caused them both to turn towards the large window.
Hitomi gasped. Newton stared calmly. Escaflowne's head was visible from the window.
"Newton!" Van's voice boomed from the cockpit, "Release Hitomi!"
"Or you'll what?" Newton said smirking.
Escaflowne backed away noisily. Hitomi, sensing Van's desperation, cowered in a back corner. With a terible groan, the outside wall of the study was suddenly torn away as Van slashed through it, exposing the room. Van cleaved the wall in two, then ripped it off - shaking the building. The interior of the study now lay exposed to the outside. Newton stood, unmoving, staring out coolly.
"How fitting," he taunted, "The young boy uses such improportionate force on his enemy."
Hitomi could almost hear Van grinding his teeth in anger. Escaflowne raised its sword high above its head, preparing to bring it down on Newton. Newton only smiled tauntingly. Hitomi's breath caught in her throat. Escaflowne was still for a moment. Then, tWith a groan, its cockpit opened and Van stepped out, drawing his sword. He pointed it down at Newton.
"Prepare to pay for your crimes!" Van yelled, leaping from escaflowne and into the room. Newton stood facing him.
"You would attack an unarmed man?" Newton chided.
Van tensed, his muscles tightening. Hitomi rose and stepped forward silently. She trembled in anxiety. A foreshadowing of dread filled her.
Newton smirked. "At least last time, I had my own sword- now I have nothing!," he taunted, "Well, attack me then, though I have no defence. Kill me in cold blood!"
Van gripped the handle of his sword, battling with himself. An unarmed man....he gritted his teeth. He must do it -to save Gaea, to save Hitomi! He prepared to attack, closing his eyes for a moment. In that split second, Newton reached into the folds of his cloak, drawing out his silver whip. Hitomi cried out and lunged forward unexpectedly, throwing herself at Newton's back. They tumbled forward; Hitomi falling on the carpet to her knees and Newton flying towards the edge of the room. He teetered for a moment on the ledge and then fell headlong, towards the stone courtyard, twenty feet below. Van rushed to the side and looked over. Newton lay on his back, eyes staring up and a red pool gradually growing from his head outward. Hitomi crawled over the edge and looked down, covering her mouth with her hands at the sight. Van wrapped an arm around her. Newton's lips began to move faintly. His weak voice echoed into Hitomi's mind. Van looked at her questioningly, not hearing.
"The cycle begins again," Newton rasped.
"No," Hitomi whispered, "It ends."
Newton's eyes widened. "I regret that it may end," he whispered sadly, "So much power...I could have used it to change the world. I could have used it to its full potential. Such a shame."
"No," she sighed, memories of her past and future lives flooding her, "No, the power is too much, even for you...father."
Newton sighed labouriously, "Mia."
Hitomi looked down sadly.
"What will you wish for?" Newton asked sofly as his green eyes rolled back and his chest sank low.
"Rest," Hitomi whispered softly. She and Van both knew that he was now dead. The earth seemed to groan as it cracked open and flames roared out. Hitomi reached for the chain around her neck and pulled it over her head, clasping the pendant of ATlantis in her hand.
Van turned to Hitomi, touching her face with his fingers.
"We knew this day would come, Van," Hitomi whispered.
"It came too soon," he replied cupping her face in his hands.
A sudden earthquake rocked the castle, breaking it apart. Van wrapped his arms around Hitomi's waist and spread his snowy wings, lifting them into the air. Hitomi surveyed the destruction.
"Look," she said through tear-filled eyes, "Look what has become of our home."
Van squeezed her. "Now is the time for us to do this. Wish."
Hitomi looked up at Van. He was staring down at her lovingly. Wrapping an arm around his neck she bowed her head. The pendant began to glow.
"I wish," Hitomi whispered, "That with our deaths, the power of Atlantis would be sealed forever."
Van pressed his lips to her forehead gently. She met his gaze and knew what came next. Van began to struggle in flight.
"Wish, hitomi," he whispered.
Hitomi pressed closer to him and pendant began to glow once more. A cool breeze caught Hitomi's hair suddenly. She glanced down. Translucent figures seemed to be moving in one of the flames below. She squinted. As she did, the vision became clearer. Two figures - one with dark hair, one with shoulder length brown hair - were walking away, hand in hand. Their gait was happy and carefree. The girl in the vision threw a glance back at Hitomi. It was Linea. She was smiling, laughter on her lips. The man beside her, Ren, swept her off the ground and the spun around happily and vanished. Hitomi looked back up at Van, her eyes, though tear-filled, were no longer filled with sadness, but with hope.
"And I wish," Hitomi whispered, smiling through her tears at Van, "That we would meet again."
Van swallowed painfully as his wings faltered. Slowly, Hitomi lifted her face to his, and he touched his forehead to hers gently.
Softly, slowly, strangely - slightly singed white feathers began to float down into the crackling fire below. Amid the rain of blackened feathers, a single, teardrop-shaped ruby pendant fell, the power of Atlantis falling with it. The ruby centre of the jewel glowed softly and then, slowly, it began to grow dark. Above the roaring of the consuming fire, a soft sigh rippled the wind; a sigh that seemed to emanate from the pendant itself. Just before the pendant turned completely black and fell irretrievably into the rising flames, the sigh turned into gentle whispering laughter - echoing the sounds of the past, the present and the future; fulfilling the ancient vision.