Thank you so much for all my reviews and I want to apologize for taking so long to update. Well first is Chapter 3 and then at the bottom are all for my Reviewers!

Chapter 3: Hanging Sideways

"Remember? Remember what?" Hitomi questioned herself as she groggily woke up. Sighing she realized it was the same dream that she had had many times before. But suddenly a sound that distinctly sounded like footsteps were heard on top of the roof and outside her window. Accurately recalling the prince's warning, Hitomi grabbed her sword and struggled to get her cloak on. Only when she turned around did she find the source of the noise as she was met with a pair of purplish-blue eyes.

Almost letting out a squeal of surprise Hitomi barely managed to keep her mouth shut as she stared at the person in front of her. 'It is the same girl as before, the one I saw with prince Van, when he first returned. Wonder what she wants?' A swish of air adverted Hitomi's gaze to the girl's tail; it was puffed out a little bit, signifying that that either the cat girl was nervous or annoyed. Folding her arms against her chest while still clinging to her sword, Hitomi grunted, hoping for a response from the girl. She didn't want to give away her gender just yet, seeing as though being a man in this country seemed to have its advantages.

"What are you doing in Lord Van's castle?" the cat person rudely asked.

Smirking at how upfront the girl was, Hitomi closed her eyes and inwardly thought, 'Hmm, she has spunk, unlike most of the women on this planet.' Smiling secretly under her hood, Hitomi continued to gaze at her intruder and watched her tail swing from side to side in an impatient manner. 'I bet she doesn't let anyone walk over her; she could be fun to play with.'

"Hello? What are you doing here?" After pausing for a while the cat girl continued, "Excuse me, I asked you a question. It is considered rude not to answer." Patience was wearing thin on the young girl, as a glint of red began to tint her cheeks. "Hey! Are you even listening to me?" the cat girl finally shouted, her hands clenched in fists at her sides and tail sticking straight up.

"Yes," Hitomi replied lazily, not caring if the cat girl knew she was a woman or not. Sighing at the surprised look on the hybrid's face, Hitomi let her arms fall to their sides, with her sword on her right. "But I wouldn't be the one who is considered rude, seeing as though you burst into my room and then presume to bombard me with questions." Seeing a cross look pass the cat girl's face, Hitomi threw her sword on her bed and sat down beside it, crossing her legs. "Now, if I know any manners, quite a significant one is to introduce one's self before having a proper conversation. If I may inquire?" Hitomi said mockingly to the hybrid.

Watching carefully as the girl in front of her, closed her eyes, Hitomi could imagine the cat girl counting silently to ten in her head in order to control her anger. After some time, the girl's frame slightly relaxed, her tail twitching less frequently and she opened both her eyes slowly. Now that the two purple orbs were open, Hitomi could see the anger welled up in the cat's being, "The name is Merle," she grinded through her teeth. Again the cat girl's demeanour changed back to what it was before; her tail puffed up and twitched quickly from side to side, "and now for my questions?"

"Ah, right, your questions," Hitomi replied groggily. She was thoroughly enjoying aggravating the girl and watched amusedly at all of the frustrated faces the cat girl gave off. "But that would be rude of me."

"What do you mean it would be rude of you? To answer my questions?" Merle asked, her expression changing from rage to one of disbelief as her arms fell limp at her sides.

"No, no, not that," Hitomi said while yawning and purposely blocking it with her hand, "I mean, you don't even know my name yet." Laughing silently at the enraged look she was given, Hitomi continued to bug the girl. "It is Hitomi by the way."

Pushing a stray of pink hair out of her eyes, Merle asked, "Alright Hitomi, can you please answer my questions? Now?"

"Hmmm, sorry forgot. What were they again?" Hitomi asked slyly, stretching her arms and legs out as she tried to get a kink out of her back. Hearing the satisfying crack, Hitomi slouched back down, her elbows resting on her knees and her chin resting on her knuckles.

Going back into a huff at the show of disinterest, Merle repeated, "What are you doing in Lord Van's castle?"

Smiling under her cloak, Hitomi knew it wasn't right to be teasing someone on purpose whom she just met, but she couldn't help it; it was too temping. "I was given permission to stay."

Waiting a few seconds for more of a reply, Merle's eyes narrowed as she asked again. "Yes, I know that, but what exactly are the reasons for you staying here? There are plenty of inns down in the village."

Playing with the hem of her cloak-sleeve, Hitomi replied, "Your Lord Van offered." Smirking slightly at the enraged look that had completely taken over Merle's face, Hitomi winced at the yelling she knew she would have to endure.

Merle's eyes were positively glowing with infuriation, the purple colour shining significantly, "I know you were given permission to stay in the castle! All I want to know is how you got your permission?" Slowly the cat girl walked closer to the still relaxed Hitomi, "For what account?"

Lifting up slowly from the bed, Hitomi was careful not to let Merle see her face, and with a tone of disgust she answered, "I saved your precious prince's pathetic life." She knew that insulting him would not be wise, but Hitomi Kanzaki would not sit by and let someone try to control her; a scowl had crossed her face at the memory of the pigheaded man.

"Pathetic life?" Merle asked in disbelief. "How dare you say such a thing about Lord Van!" But before anything else could leave the pink haired girl's mouth a loud explosion was heard to the right of Hitomi's room.

"What was that?" Hitomi said while grabbing her sword and standing up. But before either girl could make it to the window to find out, a massive vibration shook both of them and rendered them to the ground. "That was a shock wave. Damn, it must have been a huge-ass explosion to make that much movement." Hitomi commented remembering her studies in high school.

"An explosion?" Merle whimpered, as she stood and stuck her head out the window. A gasp reached Hitomi's ears as Merle's eyes widened in surprise and her tail fell limp, "Fanelia's being attacked! I have to warn Lord Van." Quickly, before Hitomi could catch her, Merle ran past Hitomi and out the door.

"An attack?" Hitomi wondered, 'Better get out of here quick. I wouldn't want to be stuck in here while the castle burnt down.' Feeling another explosion, Hitomi wobbly steadied herself on one of the bedpost and began to get ready. Putting on her shoes from under the bed and swinging her bag over her shoulder, Hitomi thought to herself, 'Why is Merle running off to inform that prince? It's not like he wouldn't hear the noise anyways.' She then ran over to the mirror to quickly check that her appearance was hidden by the cloak and then with sword in hand, ran out of her room.

Turning right down the hall, Hitomi kept her head down low as she ran, so as not to blow the hood off her head; it was not only difficult to run with a sword in hand, but a bag hanging off her shoulder as well. While racing past the tapestries, Hitomi passed many soldiers running in the opposite direction: ordered to protect Fanelia. Running by these men Hitomi picked up on some of the words being spoken between them: "The North Castle was attacked by an unknown enemy!" "They have destroyed half of the castle already!" "Quick we have to hurry, they are rumoured to be invisible!"

'An invisible enemy?' Hitomi thought to herself, still running the opposite way, 'How can it be an invisible enemy? Even on Earth we don't have the kind of technology.' But before she could explore the thought any further, a shout alerted her of Jeffery Blue, one of the prince's advisors.

"It's you. It's all your fault! Nothing would have happened to Fanelia if it wasn't for you!" After yelling loudly he grabbed a large soldier by the arm, whom was just happening to be passing by, and then said, "Stop, you have to help destroy this bastard! It is all this stupid shit's fault Fanelia was attacked."

Looking towards the cloaked figure, the soldier that was grabbed replied by saying, "What do you mean? Is he a spy?" His brown eyes glared at Hitomi as he said this, and he sunk down into a battle stance, ready to fight his opponent.

"That thing is a demon, and cursed Fanelia. Just pull back its hood and you will see what I mean," the advisor raged on crazily, letting the soldier step forward as he stepped back.

A loud boom alerted the three of another attack on the castle as the walls around them began to tremble. They were still in the hallway, but the stones seemed less steady every time the castle shook. Stopping to keep their footing, two passing soldiers looked towards the group to see what the trouble was. Recognizing the large soldier, the taller of the two interrogated the situation, "Hey Gouzu, what is the matter here? We are supposed to be at the North end of the Castle, order from Lord Balgus." The one who had just spoken, then noticed that Gouzu, the big burly soldier, was readying himself against Hitomi, "What are you doing wasting your time on this squirt?"

"Supposedly he is a threat to Fanelia. Lord Blue has ordered me to deal with him," Gouzu spoke deeply and clearly, never letting his eyes leave the cloaked figure standing in front.

"Hmm…" The one who had just spoken looked towards his shorter partner, silently asking the other if they should carry on or not. Earning a nod from his brunette comrade, the taller soldier replied to Gouzu. "Alright then, we'll help you defeat this one; the more to fight, the faster the duel.' Walking up to where their comrade was, the two soldiers joined their friend in lowering their stances, and sword ready. Gouzu, the largest of the three waved his sword threateningly at Hitomi, "Aren't you going to prepare for us demon? Or are you gonna let us spear you?"

Seeing the seriousness of the situation Hitomi stood still as she watched the soldiers ready themselves against her and silently cursed herself for the bad luck. 'Why did I have to run into that stupid advisor again?' Dropping her bag to the ground, Hitomi removed the sword from its sheath and held both sheath and sword in her hands: one for a weapon and the other as a shield. Before following in a battle stance Hitomi was shaken with a deep tremble in the ground; it seemed that there were more attacks being made on the castle. Regaining her footing, Hitomi sunk low to the ground and held her sword outwards attentively in her right hand. She was ready to defend herself if needed, as she held the sheath above and behind her head in a defensive manner.

Gouzu began to laugh at the situation, "Come on man, you are barely half the size of me and you are still going to fight all three of us? I was surprised you even managed to stay standing after that little shake. What an idiot!"

Laughing mockingly, the smallest soldier with brown hair took a threatening step towards Hitomi. Trying to upset Hitomi he humorously said, "I can take you on by myself. Come and play little freak."

Standing her ground, Hitomi kept her stance steady and waited for the attack that she knew would occur. The other two soldiers looked at their smaller acquaintance and smirked amusingly, "Can't say I didn't warn you," the smaller soldier said before raising his sword and charging towards her.

Lunging backwards at the last minute possible, Hitomi was just able to dodge the swipe aimed for her neck. Instead of connecting with her body, the soldier's sword ended up ricocheting off the stonewall; thus making him immobile for a second and leaving him as an open target. Lowering her face so that the hood would still act as a mask, Hitomi bent down low and quickly moved forwards. Using the handle of her sword to attack instead of the blade, she swiftly pounded it into the man's stomach, thus making him keel over and drop his sword. Then to disable the soldier fully, Hitomi used her foot to kick the kneeling man's head into the floor: knocking him into unconsciousness.

After dealing with the first soldier, Hitomi looked back up at the two others ready to defend herself immediately but to her surprise both were standing in the same spot as before. The largest man just stared at Hitomi with a look of disbelief on his face, while the other glared and then said, "How dare you beat up Kyoku. He may not be the most skilled, but he was still threatening."

Allowing time for his slow brain to think on what his comrade had said, a smile spread across the buff soldier's face, "Yeah, but I on the other hand can take you down easily?"

Still glaring at the girl, the smaller soldier asked his advisor some advice, "Lord Blue, what were you saying about taking off this demon's hood? Does he have an advantage against us?"

"No, nothing of that sort, just take off the hood and you will understand," the cowering man said, hiding behind the two remaining soldiers. He was shaking like a leaf and sweat was beading on his forehead. "Now hurry and beat it!"

"Yes, sir! Wanna go at this one together Buri?" the largest soldier asked the other remaining soldier to his right. "We can easily take this thing out if we both go at it at the same time."

"Sounds like a plan, I'll take the back end," the other soldier said collectively, advancing forward slowly towards Hitomi.

'Shit, shit, shit!' Hitomi thought to herself at the advancing two, 'I could take out one without showing my identity but I can hardly do that with two more apt soldiers. Damn it!' Walking backwards from where the first soldier lay, Hitomi threw her sheath to the side deciding on using more of an aggressive tactic. 'I won't be able to defeat them both by just defending myself, I must attack.'

"What? Are you backing out? Are you afraid?" the larger of the two soldiers teased, coming closer to Hitomi. But then without warning Hitomi charged forward at the smaller man and raised her sword to perform a downwards swipe upon him. It made the situation even more unexpected when the ground beneath the group began to shake leaving everyone but Hitomi shaken. The attack on the blond soldier caused him to back up out of the way of the sword, and at the same time away from his partner. Now defending on his own against the cloaked figure, the brown haired man looked up after the attack.

Unfortunately while charging forward, the wind had blown the hood back on Hitomi's cloak enabling the soldier to glimpse her appearance. "A-a woman?" the smaller soldier said barely managing to deflect another one of her swipes. "You-you can't be..." he whispered as he continued to stare at Hitomi.

'Well it opened his defences up at least,' Hitomi thought optimistically. This time Hitomi wound up her arm behind her head, and using the handle of her sword once again, smacked the man with all her might against the side of his face. Collapsing to the ground in an instant, the brown soldier blacked out and fell as he rolled on his back after the assault.

Swiftly turning around to face her other opponent Hitomi saw that he was charging at her, but upon seeing Hitomi's features, the large man stopped. Backing up so that he was out of Hitomi's sword's range the soldier commented on what he saw, "Hmm, I see what you mean Lord Blue, a demon indeed. Just look at the hair. Where the hell did this thing come from? Although she is a pretty thing..." Looking Hitomi up and down before gripping his sword tighter, Gouzu licked his lips in a perverted manner before charging towards Hitomi.

Standing her ground bravely, Hitomi met blades with the giant soldier and upon impact was completely thrown back from the shear force that the larger soldier applied on her sword. Laughing at the girl now lying on her back the soldier took a couple steps closer to the girl, "That is where you belong demon; on your back." Laughing at his joke alone, seeing as though the advisor still sat trembling at the sidelines, Gouzu continued on, "You may be swift, but you are still weak."

Coming for her again, Hitomi had to quickly roll to the left side and jumped up, to dodge a sword aimed directly for her head. Re-adjusting her stance and circling her opponent, Hitomi thought, 'Well meeting him one-on-one in a match wasn't the smartest thing I have done. He is much stronger than me so my speed is what is going to have to out match him.' Spreading her legs apart upon feeling the slight vibration once again, Hitomi kept her balance as a fourth attack was spent out on the castle. Watching as the man in front of her wobbled at the impact Hitomi took in a deep breath and sped towards the man known as Gouzu.

"So now you want to play rough?" Smirking at the girl running towards him, Gouzu raised his sword in the air ready to deflect any blow aimed at him. But instead of meeting him on, Hitomi raced to his right and struck her blade deep into the side of his abdomen.

Turning her head so that she made eye contact with the injured man, Hitomi's face continued to stay emotionless as she removed her sword with a grunt. Looking at the girl with a face full of surprise, Gouzu let his gloved hand fall to his side where Hitomi had plunged him. "Y-you beat me," the man stuttered, falling to his knees and dropping his sword. Gripping his wound, the man continued to look at Hitomi with a mix of surprise and slight admiration. Slowly his body began to shiver as Gouzu fell sideways onto the ground and lay alive in that spot for only a second more.

Still gazing at the man, Hitomi's being began to fill with a feeling of guilt and personal disgust, 'he may have been an ass, but I didn't have to kill him.' Wiping the blood off her sword on the man's shirt, the clean blade almost reassured Hitomi that she had done nothing wrong, when suddenly the advisor grabbed her attention again.

He seemed to have clumsily tripped over a stone on his way to a retreat. A small shriek erupted form Lord Blue's mouth before he ran down the opposite end of the hallway, crying for help as he went, "Help, help! A demon, hurry kill it before it kills me!"

Cursing under her breath, Hitomi covered herself up once again, and ran over to find her sheath that she had flung off at the beginning of the fight. Finding it and placing her sword once again at her side, the girl then grabbed her bag and ran off trying to find a way out of the castle. 'If no one can find me, then no one can blame me,' she thought staying low so as not to inhale any smoke.

Running deeper into the castle Hitomi cursed herself again when she realized she was lost and she couldn't remember the way she had entered. "How the hell do you find the damn exit?" she cried in frustrated. The smoke was becoming thicker and the crackling of fire was creeping up on her heels; if she didn't find a way out quickly she was going to be in trouble.

Then a couple of doors down from where Hitomi stood a strange mechanical groaning met with her ears, 'maybe there is a way out there.' So quickly and silently walking towards the door in question, Hitomi took a peek through the crack in the un-latched door and was surprised at what she saw. 'The prince? I ain't going in there even if there is a way out,' she thought, but suddenly before she could rant in side her head anymore, a large metal being dropped from the ceiling of the room. "What the hell?" Hitomi stammered out without thinking.

Immediately the prince's head turned in her direction and a scowl lit his face. Before he could say anything, Hitomi had raced away from the door and was sprinting down the hallway she had been on before. 'Shit, shit, shit. He saw me for sure, now what will I do if he catches me. He can call all his men on me to kill me.' Looking at the smoke above her, Hitomi saw that the smoke was leading out to a door on her left. 'Maybe there is a way out there.'

Carefully going into the room she sighed in frustration, 'Great, I come into a room where everything is on fire.' But after a quick scan of the smoke, Hitomi realized that it was moving out of a closet's door way. Making a rash decision she moved through that door and was relieved to see that the outside closet wall had collapsed, leaving a big enough hole for her to climb out of.

Cautious, so as to make sure her cloak didn't catch fire, Hitomi jumped through the hole and stealthily made her way down past the wreckage. 'Damn why couldn't the stones fall off the wall in perfect steps? Then I might be able to climb away from the castle with out falling on my ass,' she grated in her head. Once down from the stone wreckage, Hitomi took a deep breathe of clean air and puffed out her chest. 'Wow that definitely beats death from smoke,' she thought to herself before getting ready to run off in search of a safe place that wasn't under siege.

Then suddenly she felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up as an image entered her head. Turning around, hoping that no one was watching her, Hitomi raised her head, hood falling to her shoulders, and looked into the face of her viewer, "Oh fuck…"

Aurum, Macky, Magicman/Smokegirl, Sush, Nina, Anthius, Sorcerer or Darkness, Kya77, Frostmourne, Archangel Rhapsody, Anthius Archangel, Reminiscence and Mizery Rizes: Thank you so much for all your reviews, but I don't have enough time to separately review you all because I have no time… unless you wanted the chapter up next week! :P But I would first like to say, THANK YOU, THANK YOU ALL! And MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL! I think I am planning on writing a little short quick Christmas Escaflowne fic, but I don't know. I would like to thank you all again and keep up reviewing cause I love it!

Lady Snow Blood: No, Hitomi's real mother isn't still alive, but you will find out more in the future chapters. All you have to do is stay tooned! Please?

Feathers of Snow: Honeypot: Wow! I feel so… so amazed that you would want to read my story so much. But I can say thank you, thank you lots and lots! No, the flashbacks weren't there in the beginning chapters but I wanted to make some of the things different. Got to make this edition more interesting! Thanks for reviewing.

Joshua Glass: Yes, yes I will have some Folken in the story, just keep reading and he will come! (don't' be perverted about that comment, please!)

Dolt: All I have to say about you is that you suck. Way to be a supporting person for my stories. You didn't even read this chapter first because you were too stuck up about doing your homework. Jesus!

Eio: Whoa! The snoopy dance!

BlackHeart18: Yeah I love the green eyes, and coincidentally I have green eyes. I LOVE GREEN EYES! I am lucky yes I am! Thank for the review!

Viole's-Dragon: Wow! Thank you for the review! No problem about the computer, the chapter was up long enough cause I had lots of work to do… ha ha ha! Anywho, thank you for showering me in compliments, I love em'! Yes the Gaean language is different from Earth's, but I am going to play with it. I think I am making the Ancient Ziabachian language the one that Hitomi knows, and regular Japanese the uniform language of Gaea. I dunno, thanks for the compliments though. bows


Koriina, - meow!