(A girl worth fighting for lies on a deathbed)

Heart rate monitor: bleep-bleep…bleep-bleep………bleeeeeeeep

Potoperson: OH NO YOU DON'T! (gets out difibulator(sp?)) CLEAR!!!

Poof!

Heart rate monitor: bleep-bleep bleep-bleep bleep-bleep

Thanks to all of those who kept this thing from flat-lining!

death's haunting lullaby

leyi666

hawkflyer

Rebel of my Destiny

Twilight1

EmeraldDragon93

guardiangurl

cuteknight101

T.M. Walters

LullabyeForAStormyNight

Robert Varulfur

I do not own castle in the sky, now enjoy the show!

Chapter 3-

Sheeta could do nothing but stare at Dola. She couldn't recognize her already, could she? "What did you say?" said, fighting to keep her voice even. Dola said nothing to this attempt at seeming calm and in control. She motioned for her to take a seat at a desk that was placed in the front room and walked into a small adjoining kitchen and brought back a glass of water, shoving it at her.

"Here, drink this. You look like you're about kill over." Dola said. Sheeta nodded and sipped it, keeping her eyes on the rim of the glass. Dola took a seat across from her but didn't say anything which drove Sheeta absolutely mad. When she did finally down the water Dola asked pleasantly. "Better?" Sheeta nodded.

"Are you sure you don't want something to eat?"

Sheeta shook her head more furiously, inwardly thinking, "Get on with it already!"

Dola nodded. "Well since your doing all right would you mind explaining what your doing here princess?" she asked. Sheeta bit her lip and said in a low voice, "What exactly do you mean?" Dola barked a laugh then plucked the cap off of her head. The cord that kept her hair up had long since broken and the hair tumbled around her head. "Um…I have a fear of barber shops?" Sheeta said with nervous laughter.

Dola raised an eye brow. Sheeta's laughter faded. "Didn't buy it, huh?"

"Not even for a little bit. And quite frankly, I find it ridiculous that anyone would ever even think that hiding your hair in a hat would mask the fact that you're a girl. I mean look at you. No boy is that pretty." Sheeta's eyes fell. As she had expected, her plan was flawed and exceptionally stupid.

"What gave me away?" Sheeta mumbled crestfallen.

"I never forget a face once I've talked to her." Dola replied.

Sheeta looked up at her, perplexed. "Excuse me?"

"Now don't tell me you don't remember me?"

Sheeta shook her head. Dola opened a desk drawer and shuffled through it. She produced an old crumpled sheet of paper and tossed it across the desk at her. Sheeta tried to smooth it out the best she could and found it was a drawing, by the looks of things done by a small child. It showed a castle with banners flying from the towers and a girl with a crown falling from it. A king and queen stood on the castle towers observing and below her rode a knight wearing a helmet. Arrows pointed to everyone identifying them as "mother", "father", "me", and "you".

Sheeta gazed incomprehensively at it for a few moments. It took her a bit to pick out small details, the girl's brown braids, the poorly drawn royal crest that was on the banners and the pink hair flying from under her helmet. The memory grew and brightened in her mind's eye.

Dola must've seen the expression on her face because she smiled and asked, "You remember now princess?"

"Father! Father, I can't see!" Sheeta cried in frustration. She stood on the roof of one of the castle turrets with her mother and father, but she couldn't see over the ledge. Her father laughed merrily and hoisted her up onto the ledge, her little feet dangling over towards the crowds of people below. Several knights were matching towards the castle as well, banners waving.

"There's so many knights." Sheeta gasped. "Do you know why they're here Sheeta?" her father asked. Sheeta shook her head. "They're here for you Sheeta. Since you are four years old and destined to be the queen one day they're here pledge their loyalty to you, because you're the princess." He said.

Sheeta's mother laughed as she joined them. "And all the others are just here to celebrate your birthday. You've yet to be on this earth a decade and yet you've already captured their hearts."

Sheeta beamed. "One day when I'm queen I'm going to throw a birthday party every year and invite everybody and we'll all have cake with pink frosting." She said. Both of her parents chuckled. "Good, good our daughter already has plans!" his father explained.

A serving woman came on the roof at that time and turned her parents' attention away for a moment. Sheeta gazed over the crowds and the knights and felt excitement swell inside her like fireworks. They'd all come to see her how thoughtful! She realized at that moment how much she loved Laputa and everyone in it. She wanted to stand so she could see everyone better. She moved to get to her feet but her left foot didn't quite find the railing and it slipped, and she tumbled over the edge.

Wind whistled in her ears and everything around her swirled into nothing but colors as she plummeted. She screamed and she could hear others who had seen her fall screaming too. Something inside her knew that pain was coming. She squeezed her eyes shut as the spinning and whistling continued.

And as suddenly as she was whisked into all of this everything was still and she was suddenly firmly in someone's arms. She cracked an eye open. Why hadn't she died? She realized that she was on the back of a chestnut charger and in the lap of a knight in full armor. The knight pulled the helmet off and revealed an older woman with pink hair matted to her hair with sweat. "Are you all right, princess?" she asked. Sheeta nodded dumbly.

The knight waved up towards the tops of the castle where she had fallen. Sheeta followed her gaze to the top of the turret. It was such a far way up she could hardly make out the faces of her mother and father. Sheeta gazed back at the knight in wonderment. "You saved me…" She said in awe. The woman gave a crooked grin. "Ah, no worries your highness. It's all part of my job to protect you." She said dryly.

People were coming out of the castle then towards them. Sheeta was placed into the arms of a nurse whose face was streaked with tears. As Sheeta was carried back up to the castle turret all she could think about is that a kind knight just saved her life, and that she was never going to forget her.

"You followed me around all day after that." Dola mused, "Drew me the picture and made me promise I'd keep it forever. As you can see I'm always true to my word." Sheeta continued to gaze at the picture. "I don't believe it…"shesaid softly.

"What don't you believe? That I still have that scrap of paper or that you forgot about ole Dola even though you just said you'd never forget?"

"Well, yes that. But that I haven't seen you in all of these years. If you're a knight why don't you stay at the castle?" Sheeta asked. Dola sat back in her seat and stared at the ceiling.

"My place is here now. I got promoted to general after some battles at the border some time ago. Now I'm kept busy with all of the new recruits Muska sends up so I don't have much leisure time for visits," then she added with a snort, "not that I'd even want to see the castle anymore, I don't even want to see what ole Muska's done with the place. But I'm still a knight and I've still pledged my loyalty to you princess."

She paused then said with a sly grin, "And speaking of which I'm suppose to protect you, which means leaving you in an army training camp is probably not a very good idea unless you give me a very good reason."

Sheeta flushed and gazed down at her feet. "Oh yeah…that." She mumbled. Dola snickered and replied, "Yes, that. So would you care to tell why you're here?" Sheeta nodded and with a deep breath told her all about Pazu, Muska's punishment, and how she decided to go after him. Dola listened without interruption. As Sheeta finished she waited for Dola to laugh, to inform her how ridiculous her plan was. Dola didn't say anything at first. Just then she chuckled, "Well, that was a ridiculous plan!" she continued laughing, Sheeta gazed down abashed.

"Ah, don't feel bad princess. Not every plan's a gem. Even I make some blunders." Dola said. Sheeta looked up pleadingly. "What can I do now? I've come so far… I can't just leave, can I? What about Pazu? I can't just leave him here."

Dola looked ponderous. "Well I wish I could tell you I could just release him to you but I can't, if Muska's ordered him here he has to stay."

"And what about me?"

"Well Muska probably already knows you're gone. And will probably have everyone and their granny looking for you up and down Laputa. And he won't necessarily be a happy camper when he finds you…"

"That isn't making me feel better you know."

"Hey I'm just laying out the facts. When you're in war you need to see every detail, not just the ones that make you feel better."

"But what am I going to do? I don't want to go back!"

"All right, all right give me a sec." She stood and paced the back wall while Sheeta watched anxiously. She finally stopped and returned to her seat.

"Well as far as anybody knows you're just some boy named Shirou with a girly face. So you could probably stay here and continue training for the time being and keep an eye on your little Pazu. But be forewarned this will not keep you from Muska forever. I can loosen up the training regulations for you." She winked, "I'm not as much of a witch as I make myself seem. But nobody seems to take an old lady with pink hair seriously unless she's barking down her nose at you."

Sheeta smiled and shook her head. "No, it would raise to much suspicion if I were to get special treatment, plus it wouldn't be fair." Dola nodded. "Good point, but I'm warning you, you agreeing not to have special treatment means you will be treated like everyone else. And as you've seen from earlier I'm not necessarily your run-of-the-mill granny when it comes to discipline. Do I make myself clear?" Sheeta nodded.

"All righty then welcome to the army Shirou. Although before I let you in…" she grimaced. "You ain't foolin' anybody with that hair of yours"

Sheeta left Dola's quarters with (freshly cut hair tucked under her cap) to find Pazu waiting eagerly by the door. "What was that about?" he asked, his eyes shining with worry. Sheeta shrugged. "She said stuff about my hair." She replied simply. (Not much stuff, but stuff was still stuff0

Pazu whistled. "Man she had us scared for you. The guys at the tent were taking bets about whether she'd cut your head off!" he said laughing. Sheeta laughed as well. "Don't worry. I think that the general is probably not as vicious as she seems." She said.

They walked towards an area were a couple of tents were set up. Sheeta internally groaned, just remembering that she still had to set up her's. She began to walk off to where a pile of tarps and materials for setting up tents was stationed. "Where are you going?" Pazu asked curiously.

"I still need to set up my tent."

"Your tent's over there." Sheeta glanced over to find an unoccupied tent that was apparently her's. She walked over and glanced inside. "Who did this?" Sheeta asked in surprise. Pazu glanced up at the sky, a look of over exaggerated innocence on his face. "Oh I'm sure somebody saw." He said.

Sheeta looked up at him as he said he'd better go check out his own tent to make sure its still ok, he'd better get going. (Can you sense the shiftiness in his voice?) He began heading back to his own tent. Sheeta called after him, "Pazu!" he glanced back over his shoulder. "If you just happen to find out who did it, tell him I said thanks, I appreciate it." "You're welc- I mean sure thing!" with that Pazu headed off towards his tent.

Sheeta crawled into her tent. Surprisingly there was even a small mat for sleeping lain in it. She collapsed onto her mat despite it not being late enough to really sleep, leaving her cap beside her. She was glad Pazu was nice enough to befriend her; she had a feeling she'd need all the friends she could get out here.

"And as you've seen from earlier I'm not necessarily your run-of-the-mill granny when it comes to discipline."

She felt a knot of dread build inside her throat but shook her head. She had agreed to it after all, so she couldn't complain. She closed her eyes taking a deep breath. It would be ok, right? After all, this camp couldn't be nearly as bad as dealing with Muska back home.

Got nothing to say except sorry for the wait.

Bye!