29 September, 2000
Vision of Escaflowne
by: The MOUSE.................................
Two perfect spheres, moons, hung in the waning light of Gaia's day. One was small, a silvery white color, and barren of all life. The other moon was a larger orb, blue and lush with greenery, cities could barely be seen dotting its surface. It was known as the Moon of Illusions. A young man of twenty, his jet-black hair blowing in a gentle but cold breeze, stared up at the larger moon almost in longing from the terrace of a mighty palace. He had been to that moon twice in his young life. The first time to slay a Dragon for its energist crystal at its heart to earn his right to be King of Fanelia. The second time to bring back his dearest of friends who he realized he needed at his side.
He could just picture her short, dark gold hair glowing in the sunlight; her bright green eyes twinkling at him when he said her name; could almost feel her pressed to his chest as he held her lithe form; could almost smell that exotic sweet scent, both herbal and floral, from her hair. He could almost make out her voice whispering his name, softly. It always caused his heart to summersault when he heard her say it just like that, longing and loving all at the same time.
Oh, Hitomi, I miss you.
"... and we can officially begin celebrating the city's grand re-building and re-opening for trade in less than a day, my Lord Fanel."
The young King, Van Slanzar de Fanel of Fanelia, blinked back from his daydream to look at one of his advisors standing at his side with a scroll and stylus. He was an elderly man, pudgy in the face, a low stomach barely concealed by so many robes of office. He was dressed in the thickest robes to block out the cold. "Make it ten days, Balthus. I want our friends and guests to have a chance to arrive before anything begins. Don't want to insult anyone."
"Yes, Lord Fanel." and he took the note down on the scroll. The advisor then had an almost awkward pause. "A question, if I may?"
"You Majesty seemed lost in thought just a moment ago. Is something wrong?"
Van sighed, his breath crystallizing on the cold air, and looked out on his newly re-built city covered in thick drifts of snow. It always looked so beautiful in the winter. He wished she could see it too, as he was seeing it. "Yes and no."
"Balthus, I'm thrilled the city is re-built and that everything went so smoothly. My people are safe once again and life is returning to normal. But in that lies my problem. I don't want to return to the old routine, not now after what I've survived through."
Balthus looked appalled. "You wish action again? Another war?"
"No. I want peace. The countryside has it and Escaflowne will sleep on. The only place peace is missing is in my heart. The re-building took five years and all my attention and concentration. All that time I've been carrying a hole in my heart. It needs to be filled now, but I don't know if that's still possible."
This brought about a huge smile on the advisor's face. He had been hoping his King would start thinking of his duty to his people and look for a Queen to produce an heir. "Of course it is, Lord Fanel! There are hundreds of Princesses on Gaia and one will surely be to your liking. Anyone of them could make a fine Queen for you."
"No, Balthus. I know for a fact that no one from Gaia could." He looked up to the Moon of Illusions with a sad smile. "But she can, if she'll still have me."
"She, Lord Fanel? Who is this she you speak of?"
Van didn't answer, only turned and walked away. The advisor watched him go and shook his head. You, my young King, need a Queen. And your advisors may just be able to arrange that for you.
* * *
A small pink crystal pendant swung back and forth, keeping perfect time in the light of the two moons. Van watched each swing carefully, his decision gaining in conviction with each arc it traced. Would she be happy to see him? Would she resent him for being away, mentally and physically, for so long? If he waited much longer he knew he would slip too deep into his growing depression to ever be able to be pulled out. He needed to know.
A lithe and lovely cat-like woman was perched on the edge of the bed, watching Van and the pendant in avid worry. "You're not really going, are you, Van-sama?"
"I have to, Merle." he told her.
"But... but why?" she protested.
"It's been five years. She probably has questions as to what happened. I know I do. At the very least I have to make sure she's alright."
"Can't you... well... feel it? You always told me you could feel her."
"It's not the same as actually being there."
"But why does it have to be you to go? Why can't she come here?"
"Because she doesn't have the pendant anymore and she and I are the only two who know how to use it." and he secured his sword to his belt. "Don't worry. I've been to the Moon of Illusions before. This time it'll be safer since I won't be hunting Dragons."
"Wish I could go." she pouted.
He chuckled. "She once told me there are no cat people on the Moon of Illusion. You'd stand out there like a guymelef standing out on the plains."
She stuck to her pout. "I don't know why you want to see her to badly. All she ever does is have visions and they always turn out bad." Van had to smile at the tone of obvious jealousy he heard in Merle's voice. "I could have visions too, you know. And they could be a hundred times better than hers. Mine would always turn out right."
He faced the lovely feline with a patient smile. She had changed in the last five years, becoming more feminine and alluring, but to Van she would forever remain his trusted child friend, a Sister. "I don't just need her for the visions, Merle. More that anything I need her. To just hold her one more time..." and he trailed off with an expression of pain and longing, to which Merle cocked her head, not quite understanding.
"Then we will go together." a new voice announced from the open door to Van's chambers. A tall man, richly dressed, a sword at his hip, now stood there. His long blond hair seemed to glow a bright gold even in the dimming light.
Van couldn't help but smirk. "Princess Millerna won't like the idea of you leaving." he half chided.
"A King needs a protective escort where ever he goes, especially in a strange land." the Asturian Knight, Allen Schezar, smiled in answer. "She will understand that."
Van frowned slightly. "I don't need protection." He suddenly paused. "But I won't be able to talk you out of coming with me, am I?"
Allen's smile remained. "I, too, miss her. This will also be an opportunity for me to see her world, if only for a little while."
The young King pondered this request for a moment, wondering briefly if it was because Allen still harbored feelings for Hitomi Kanzaki that made him want to come along, then nodded and motioned him outside on the room's adjoining balcony. Merle watched the two men from the safety and warmth of the door. Van reverently cinched the precious pendant around his throat, then stood perfectly still, his eyes closed. Allen stood by, quiet, not quite sure of what to expect. He watched the King's hand close over the pendant as a small smile touched his lips. One image alone invaded Van's mind.
"Hitomi..." he breathed.
Both men were suddenly enveloped in a column of blue white light and, where once they stood on a balcony in the cold Gaia winter air, the two found themselves in a small wooded area where the air was too warm for their thick coats.
Allen looked around with a slightly disappointed expression. "This is the Moon of Illusions?"
"Doesn't look like very much, does it?" Van answered as he shrugged out of his coat, amused at his friend's disappointed reaction. "I had the same reaction when I first came here. But then, I hadn't met her yet."
He took the lead out of the small wooded area, leading his friend onto an open field of cut grass and red gravel. He smiled. This place was very familiar to him. This was where he had first appeared five years ago, killed a dragon, and met the girl who had changed his life forever. At the far end of the field was a group of people, all huddled around something or someone. A young boy came running past the two travelers, Van managing to snag his arm to momentarily restrain him.
"What's going on over there?" he asked the boy.
The child grinned excitedly. "It's been five years, but Kanzaki-san finally agreed to draw her cards and do a reading for us."
Allen had to smile. "Finding her proved simpler than I had believed it to be."
The boy looked at them both with barely veiled suspicion. "You were looking for her?" He frowned. "Why?"
"Easy." Van grinned at the protectiveness he showed. "She's a friend. Can you deliver something to her?"
He pulled a long white feather from the simple looking pack slung over his shoulder. "Give her this. She'll know what it means."
The boy frowned again, this time in confusion, but ran off to do as asked. Allen watched the boy go before turning to follow the young King back to where the light had left them. "A feather from your wings." he stated.
"Private message between her and I. She can feel what I was feeling the moment the feather was taken."
"Ah." He wanted to know more, but did not want to press the obviously private topic. "Are we not going to wait for her out there where she can find us?" the Asturian Knight asked.
"She'll know where to find us. Besides, meeting her out in the open, with so many people around, would raise too many questions, most of which are too complicated to answer."
Allen nodded slowly at that impeccable logic. "Very wise, young King."
Van shrugged and leaned back against a tree. "I'm just trying to make things easier for her."
To Be Continued…